KARNES COUNTY – The new training center for the fire departments and EMS should be complete around the first of the year, according to Karnes City Fire Chief Charles Malik.

“The progress of the Karnes County emergency services training field is steadily moving along.  The drill tower and burn room are completed except for electrical work.  We are beginning to work on remodeling the building that will house the classroom, kitchen, restrooms and offices. The  fencing around the facility is being installed,” Malik said.

The facility, when finished, will provide all four volunteer fire departments a local training facility to use. The departments had to go outisde the county for such training in the past and it  was a problem in that it kept a good number of responders away from their districts, unable to respond in a timely manner if an emergency arose.

With donations still coming in for the project, a $30,000 donation from ConocoPhillips was recently received, the cement pad for the oil field training area will be upcoming in the next few weeks. Two large oil drums also have been donated by local companies for training purposes.

“We hope to add a building on which to practice ventilation and ladder scenarios.  Additional training props will be added as funding becomes available,” Malik said.

The new training area is going to be an ongoing facility, in that as money is provided, new training areas will be developed.

“We need to be able to train our firefighters on every type of scenario that they may be called to so that they will be able to do their job properly and safely.  Eventually we will need to add confined space training props and hopefully trench and structural collapse training props,” Malik said.

The county has quite a few volunteers and their safety and the lives and property of others is in their hands and in their training as to the high quality of assistance they provide.

“We are fortunate to have so many great volunteer firefighters in Karnes County, who save us millions of dollars each year on the cost of fire protection, but they each need the same training as any paid personnel if they are going to be able to continue to provide this service in a safe and effective manner and be able to return home unharmed,” he said.

Tax-deductible contributions for the facility may be made through the Karnes City VFD Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit corporation (Tax ID 74-2972956).

Former editor of Karnes Countywide, Beeville sports