Thursday, June 28, 2012

Gear up for Municipal Fire School!

Gear up and get to College Station for TEEX's Annual Municipal Fire School this July! The world-renowned Brayton Fire Training Field is a proving ground for firefighters. You'll have an experience you will never forget with people you'll always remember--those who went through it with you! It's the reason that firefighters return year after year, for the adrenaline rush and the camaraderie of a school like no other in a place like no other.

And if you haven't been yet, you're in for a wild ride. Read Bobby Brown's blog about what it's like to attend Municipal School for the first time. Then, grab your bunker gear and head to College Station on July 22. You'll find 279 acres of exciting hands-on training on 132 training props, including 32 live-fire training stations. Plus, this year you could be one of the first to train in the brand new 3-story building:

Even better news:  There's funding available for rural volunteer firefighters to attend the school through the Texas Forest Service. It covers tuition, room, and board. Apply before July 22 and make sure that your department qualifies; and if you have any questions, call 979-458-6505.

One of the best things about being a Texas firefighter is getting to attend the Texas Fire School at the world-renowned Brayton Fire Training Field. So, Gear Up and we'll see you soon!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Live-Fire Shoot House provides realistic, safe training environment

Law enforcement officers have been called to a house where a gunman is holding a hostage.  The five officers break in the door with a battering ram and advance into a dimly lit room, firearms drawn, adrenalin pumping and senses on high alert. All of their skills and training will be put to the test.

Fortunately, this is only a scenario replayed at the Live-Fire Shoot House operated by the Law Enforcement Extension program at the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). The Shoot House, located at the Texas A&M Riverside Campus in Bryan, Texas, was developed to give officers a safe “laboratory” to learn and test their firearms training in a realistic and challenging urban environment. The 3,150-square-foot facility is essentially an indoor shooting range that allows for 360-degree live-fire firearms training in a safe environment. 

Although realism in firearms training is important, safety is the principal design element in any shoot house.  The interior walls of the TEEX facility are designed to safely absorb the impact of common pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition used by modern law enforcement agencies.  The TEEX Shoot House is rated for the safe use of rifle ammunition up to and including 5.56 NATO.  It includes entry doors that can be mechanically breached using hammers or rams and then quickly reset without damage.  It can also be set up to allow for breaching using firearms and explosives.

Unlike traditional firearms ranges, which only allow for target placement and shooting in a single predictable direction, the TEEX Shoot House allows instructors to confront students with targets from multiple angles in an environment that simulates a home, office, or school room. The facility can be reconfigured with furniture and other props that significantly change the scenarios facing the students each time they enter. Lighting and sound can be manipulated to increase the level of distraction and stress placed on participants as they work their way through the training scenarios. 

The primary topics taught in the facility include close-quarter skills such as breaching and room entry, dynamic and covert building clearing, deploying distraction devices, engaging multiple targets, and team movement. All these skills can be taught and tested using live ammunition with confidence that every round fired is being contained within its armored walls. 

Even though the TEEX Shoot House is designed for live-fire exercises it also sees significant training use that does not include live-fire ammunition. TEEX uses a “crawl, walk, run” methodology in its instructional design and training delivery. We teach and hone fundamental skill sets before placing students into the Shoot House for comprehensive live-fire exercises.  Students are taught raid planning and movement, before running through scenarios without weapons. The Shoot House also serves as an excellent environment for force-on-force scenario training using live actors who pose different types of threats. These live actors may be attired in padded suits and pose a threat that requires participants to use unarmed self-defense tactics or intermediate weapons, such as simulated tear gas or a baton. Actors and students may also be armed with firearms simulators that fire paint marking cartridges to simulate deadly force scenarios.

The TEEX Shoot House is utilized in support of several TEEX training courses including:

When attending skill-based training, students must receive valuable and actionable feedback about training scenarios from their teammates and instructors. To facilitate this feedback, the TEEX Shoot House is equipped with a digital video system that records student movement throughout the scenario.  The scenarios that students face are often designed to be complex, time-consuming and stressful. Students may or may not remember individual segments of the overall event. Reviewing the video captured during the scenario allows training participants to assess their own performance and provides instructors with a valuable tool to correct or reinforce performance. By providing a safe training environment and realistic training simulations using the latest technology and instructional techniques, along with immediate feedback, the Shoot House experience will make officers better prepared for the unexpected.

NOTE:  The TEEX Shoot House is not only used to support TEEX training, but is also available for training use by law enforcement agencies, SWAT teams, military units, and other customers.  Agencies can contract with TEEX to provide instruction, supervise scenario-based training provided by the agency or for use by agency trainers.  Contact TEEX Public Safety and Security at 800-423-8433 for more information.