AIR FORCE & DOD FIRE ACADEMY HISTORY

 

1943-1946:  General Hap Arnold established the first formal fire protection training course at Geiger Field, Washington.

 

1946-1960:  Fire protection training relocated to Lowry Field, Colorado (later to become Lowry AFB), and became officially known for the first time as the Fire School.

 

1960-1965:  Fire School relocated to Greenville AFB, Mississippi, and became the “Fire Protection Training Branch” in the training squadron.

 

Training was plagued by excessive vehicle deterioration due to the constant training demand, which increased wear and tear by an estimated 1000 percent; Greenville AFB then closed.

 

Chanute AFB, Illinois was selected as the new location for the Fire School primarily to consolidate with the Special Vehicle Mechanics course, providing the badly needed expertise to properly maintain the Fire School’s vehicle fleet.

 

1965-1975:  Chief Warrant Officer Louis F. Garland took charge of the Fire School at Chanute and began a ten-year quest for excellence that led to the accomplishment of countless milestones, most of which laid the groundwork for Air Force Fire Protection, as we know it today.

 

Chief Garland set forth a list of five major goals, which still provide valuable guidelines critical to the future of Air Force Fire Protection.

 

Fire School personnel developed what is today IFSTA Manual 206 for crash fire fighting; adopted by the DoD, 44 states, and 19 foreign countries worldwide.

 

The Fire Prevention Inspector course was developed in 1967, reducing fire losses Air Force wide by 80 percent over the following ten-year period.

 

The first DoD Firefighter Rescueman course was developed in 1970.

 

In 1972, Fire School personnel developed nationwide training standards for the Federal Aviation Administration to enforce compliance with new airport CFR regulations.

 

1975-1993:  The Fire School became officially known as the “Fire Protection Training Division” and continued the course set by Chief Garland, steadily upgrading the quality of training provided.

 

The Advanced Fire Technology course was developed in 1978, and the Norma Brown AFB Simulator was built to support the course at a cost of $180,000; current replacement estimates for the simulator ranges between $2M and $3M.

 

Also in 1978, the Army Fire School at Fort Rucker, Alabama was closed, and joint training began at Chanute; currently, hundreds of fire fighters representing each of the other services are trained each year at Chanute.

 

Additional courses were developed and updated throughout this period, along with equipment upgrades and the new Fire School facility that was completed in 1987.

 

Almost 150,000 DoD fire fighters have been trained at the fire school during the 25 year period since its arrival at Chanute AFB.

 

1993 – Present:  Chanute was closed on 1 Sep 1993 by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission and Goodfellow AFB in San Angelo, Texas was chosen as the new home for the Fire School.

 

On 3 Jan 1993, the Fire School staff and equipment began arriving at Goodfellow AFB, Texas.

 

On 16 Aug 1993, courses (from Chanute) resumed at Goodfellow AFB.

 

37-Day Apprentice Firefighter

Rescue Technician

Hazardous Materials Technician

Fire Inspector/Investigator

Firefighter Supervisor

 

On 28 Feb 1993, DoD adopted the DoD Fire Fighter Certification System (FFCS), which is accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC).  The Air Force became the executive agent for the FFCS.  This necessitated a total revision of the courses conducted at the Fire School in order to attain IFSAC accreditation for the courses.  Courses were accredited as follows:

 

10 Aug 1994:  Hazardous Materials Train the Trainer

8 Dec 1994:  Fire Fighter I

6 Sep 1995:  Airport Fire Fighter (first in the nation)

29 Sep 1995:  Fire Inspector I

6 May 1997:  Fire Fighter II

 

On 22 Dec 1994, the Fire School moved into the new DoD Fire Academy facility.

On 18 Aug 1995, the Fire School was renamed the Louis F. Garland Fire Academy.

 

On 29 Sep 1995, the first class with USMC fire fighters began.

 

On 8 Jan 1997, the apprentice fire protection training program became generic (non-service specific).

 

Many other courses have been added to the Fire Academy and the training continues to evolve into the world’s finest training.