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Media invited to view, experience training at Fire Service Institute

Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor
(217) 333-2894;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Members of the news media will have an opportunity on March 26 to view and experience aspects of the training given to thousands of firefighters and emergency personnel every year at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute.

The institute’s first Media Day, starting at 10 a.m., will give reporters the chance to participate in a live-fire training drill, as well as a training demonstration on how to stabilize and search damaged buildings. Other demonstrations will include hazardous-materials training and the use of automobile-extrication equipment.

Participants also will get a complete tour of the training facilities, and can interview firefighters from their local communities who are taking part in institute courses. Among those are personnel from departments in Chicago and its suburbs, Bloomington-Normal, Champaign-Urbana, Collinsville, Danville and Decatur. The current arson investigation class includes two students from the Mariana Islands.

The courses under way at the institute are part of its Spring Fire Academy, and include basic training for career and volunteer firefighters, as well as specialized classes in fire and arson investigation and rescue from building collapse.

The institute, at 11 Gerty Drive, Champaign, is the statutory fire academy for the state of Illinois. In addition to training provided year-round at the campus facility, the institute conducts workshops and classes throughout the state and online. Each summer at Illinois, it also conducts a four-day Fire College, believed to be the oldest school of its kind in the United States, and attended by nearly 1,000 firefighters and emergency personnel.

For more information about Media Day or to register for it, call Mary Auth, (217) 351-6373.