The Chabot College Fire and Technology program has long been advocating for a new facility to better meet the needs of its students and equip them for successful careers as firefighters and EMS workers. After years of seeking support, the program is thrilled to announce the opening of its new training facility in 2023.
Bob Buell, the fire technology coordinator, explained the reasons behind the department’s decision to pursue a new facility. He highlighted the expansion of fire departments’ services beyond traditional firefighting and emergency medical services (EMS), which necessitated the evolution of pre-employment candidate preparation for more realistic training experiences.
“Since 2008, I’ve been working to secure a home for the Chabot Fire Academy,” said Buell. “With the services provided by fire departments expanding, it became crucial to develop our students for the ever-evolving demands of their future careers. The State of California has also transitioned from a statewide to a national training certification system, allowing students to seek employment anywhere in the country. To meet these national certification requirements, we have had to invest in additional equipment and acquire suitable facilities to deliver comprehensive training.”
The collaboration between the City of Hayward and the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District has been instrumental in making this new facility a reality. Through a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and a ground lease agreement, the partnership not only provided a permanent home for the Fire Academy and EMS Program but also established the facility as a regional resource for training first responders. Additionally, this collaboration supports the K-12 to College to Career pathway, creating a seamless educational journey for students interested in pursuing a career in the field.
The newly constructed state-of-the-art training facility comprises nine buildings and structures, enabling students to gain practical experience in various scenarios. These range from firefighting in a three-story building to search and rescue operations in a collapsed parking garage structure. Notably, the facility boasts a Bart platform, complete with a Bart train generously donated by the Bay Area Rapid Transit department. Students will receive comprehensive training on how to respond in the event of a platform collapse during an earthquake.
At the heart of the training facility stands the main building, serving as a combination fire station and college classrooms and offices facility. The western section accommodates the crew and company of Hayward Fire Department station 6, as well as a Crash Fire Rescue vehicle for airport responses. On the eastern side, there are classrooms, offices, conference rooms, a dispatch training room, and student/staff break rooms.
Buell adds, “The building is also designed to serve as an alternate Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in case of a disaster, should the primary EOC be unavailable. This flexibility ensures that we can effectively respond to emergencies and provide support to the community when it is most needed.”
The completion of the new training facility represents a significant milestone for the Chabot College Fire and Technology program. Equipped with modern amenities and realistic training environments, students will be better prepared to handle the challenges they may encounter in their future careers. The facility’s construction underscores the commitment of the City of Hayward and the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District to fostering educational opportunities and ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.