Mission Statement: To provide proactive instruction that maximizes the knowledge, skills, and abilities of every member of the Memphis Fire Services Division.
The importance of properly training personnel in the Fire Services Division can never be overemphasized. From the initial phase of employment each employee is trained in basic firemanship and emergency medical skills and procedures. The The Memphis Fire Devision began training personnel before it was recognized as a professional fire department. In 1950, it formalized the training process with the construction of the Claude Armour Training Center. This center served as the focal point for all departmental training until 2001, when the Fire Services Division opened the Chester Anderson Training Center. Over the past 50 years, Memphis has trained over 7,000 fire recruits making it one of the top ranked and largest fire departments in the country. Currently, the Memphis Fire Training Bureau has a staff of 20 personnel who are responsible for maintaining a proactive training curriculum for over 1600 personnel. These efforts concentrate on both professional and management techniques.
The professional delivery of these basic skills begins at the Chester Anderson Training Center where there are three major training building covering 60,000 square feet. A dual-purpose, physical exercise area is used for physical fitness training during recruit classes. When there is not a class in session, it provides an area for physical conditioning and evaluation of veteran firefighters. Most departments built real fires in a room containing all of the real hazards such as smoke, fire, and poisonous gasses. Instructors at the Memphis Fire Academy utilize a five-story training tower and a two-story burn building. In this state-of-the-art facility, the fire is real but can be extinguished immediately if a recruit or firefighter is in danger or has been injured. Safety is further enhanced by using the most advanced burn simulators and providing real world operations for training. These range from attic access, confined space rescue, hazmat burn area, and elevator shaft training. The apparatus storage building is designed to store apparatus and training devices when they are not in use. It also has storage for air masks, sprinkler simulators, and a training wall that illustrates the proper way to open and enter fire doors. A classroom for briefing and debriefing students before and after field training has also been included. In the case of an emergency, the building will be fully functional with generator backup. A special pond was created to help teach firefighters how to draft water from a lake or swimming pool. The pond is also used for annual testing of pumping apparatus. The facility has the newest technology in driver simulation. Utilizing high-resolution video, the training comes to life with a "Virtual World" driving environment. The training center also utilizes an outdoor driving range. This area provides a safe and realistic driver training experience for the student. Allowing future drivers to increase their driving skills in these environments reduces their chance of accidents while increasing response time. The Memphis Fire Division Training Center also has a student-friendly computer lab that is utilized by all divisions of the city. There is also a studio and editing room with the latest equipment to make and broadcast (over the fiber links) real and exciting training materials on a real time or delayed basis. These state-of-the-art techniques, coupled with the superior training of the division's 16 fire instructors, makes the Memphis Fire Services Training Academy a model for other departments across the nation.
In addition to being a model training academy, the Memphis Fire Services Training Academy will serve as a fully functional, remote command center if the city ever encounters a natural or man-made disaster.
The Training Bureau is dedicated to progressive training that will allow all members of the department to maintain local, state, and national certifications, as well as, meeting the challenge of municipal fire, rescue, and EMS delivery.