Fire protection training gets technology upgrades

By Paul Hemsley

The fire protection industry has received a training upgrade from the opening of a Fire Protection Centre of Excellence in the Victorian town of Brunswick.

For students to be specifically trained on sustainability, saving energy, waste reduction and water conservation, the centre is a building addition to the existing Plumbing Industry Climate Action Centre (PICAC).

The centre is part of a $2.1 million skills and training investment from the federal government, as part of the $3 billion skills and training package in the 2011-12 budget.

Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Chris Evans said this will ensure workers have access to the latest skills and technology to help protect homes, businesses and communities from the “devastating impact of fires”.

Fire Industry Training CEO, Lucas Blyth said the trainees will be trained in fire sprinkler systems, fire pump sets, fire alarm panels, and gaseous suppression systems.

He said the vendors for the equipment are Ampac, Reliable, One Steel and Tyco Fire.

According to Mr Blyth, there was an existing building and it was completely retrofitted, where Entire was the contractor for the building project, preceded by a tender process.

Mr Blyth said there was ICT upgrading and extension within the retrofitting of the building.

“It’s got the smart board technology for the training room, like the whiteboards where it’s all electronic, where it projects up an image from the computer and you can interact with it like a touch screen and up come all the bits of information,” he said.

PICAC CEO, Vin Ebejer said the smart board and other technology in the training room, they have come from various companies that manufacture alarm panels and technical equipment for the fire industry.

“Some of it was donated and some of it was purchased,” Mr Ebejer said.

He said the alarm panels in that part of the training room are from six manufacturers.

Mr Ebejer said the computer room and the software are there to deliver the computer aided design (CAD) training.

“We’ve got a range of software from the range of Microsoft’s suite of software to whatever the cad program that we’re using, which is for engineering and building design,” Mr Ebejer said.

According to Mr Ebejer, the trainers have not received specific training in regards to the technology or software.

“We use different trainers that would come in externally that would have an expertise in a particular area of training so they wouldn’t be employed full time," he said

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