FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fayetteville Tech Community College opened a state-of-the-art swift water rescue training facility. Officials said the facility will help expand job opportunities in the area.
The new facility on Tom Starling Road is the only swift water rescue training facility on the East Coast. It will help teach countless trainees how to save lives.
"It really sets Cumberland County and Fayetteville Tech up as a premier trainer in the public service space--not only in our state, but also all across the United States," said FTCC President Dr. Mark Sorrells.
At the facility, first responders will train to rescue people in extreme weather events like hurricanes, major flooding or large bodies of water.
It sits on a plot of about 30 acres of land that Cumberland County donated to Fayetteville Tech to build its entire fire and rescue complex.
Officials said the fact that this facility is indoors is a big advantage; Normally this kind of training is outdoors where it can be impacted by the weather, daylight or water levels. This indoor facility gives emergency responders a special opportunity to train all year for different kinds of rescue scenarios in a safer, controlled environment.
"We like to say that we're leaders in the state," Dr. Sorrells said. "And through the partnership with the county, we're planning an emergency rescue complex and we ran across the opportunity to add this facility in, and we knew that it was going to be an opportunity that we needed for our residents and for eastern North Carolina."
Officials say this will be a major boost for job preparation in the area--especially for the next generation.
"What's most significant about this to me is I think about our younger generation, I think about our kids who don't get to see things like this, who don't get to think they can be firefighters or swift water trainers or things of that nature." said Dr. Toni Stewart, the chairwoman of Cumberland County board of commissioners. "For them to see something like this that is different from what they're use to seeing, it's going to create a huge benefit for them."