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Lone Star College-Montgomery Fires up New Flashover Chamber for Training

Flashover Chamber
Fire science technology instructors at Lone Star College-Montgomery train in the college's newly acquired class A flashover chamber.
Flashover training is essential for firefighters, and no one
knows that more than the instructors of the fire science technology program at Lone Star College-Montgomery. After months of discussion about how beneficial it would be for the program to have a flashover chamber easily accessible for training purposes, it has become a reality.

The newly acquired flashover chamber was added to the college’s already existing, state-of-the-art training facility at The Woodlands Emergency Training Center, shared through a partnership between The Woodlands Fire Department and LSC-Montgomery.

“Before, we were going to the Houston Fire Department and using their flashover chamber,” said David Griffin, director of the fire science program at LSC-Montgomery. “While we appreciate what they have done for us, this puts it in our backyard. Instead of loading up our gear, tools, and equipment for a day, we can spread training out however long it is necessary for the cadets to get the most out of it.”

A flashover, the near simultaneous ignition of a room or enclosed area into flames, can be recreated in this controlled environment, offering a real-life burn experience similar to what cadets will encounter in the field. This simulation allows instructors the ability to conduct advance training on fire dynamics, offer a unique observation standpoint that allows cadets to better see developing conditions, and increase firefighter awareness.

Griffin explains that a controlled fire is ignited in the firebox and cadets will be in the observation area of the chamber, below the firebox. They will be able to see the fire from its beginning stages, all the way through to a fully developed fire. Because no one fire is the same, he said, cadets will be able to read various situations and determine the best course of action for fighting that particular fire.

“This piece of equipment gives the cadets the latest and greatest of training,” said Griffin. “What they put their hands on here in the way of tools and equipment is what they’re going to see when they are hired on and get to that fire station.”

The fire science technology program at LSC-Montgomery began in spring of 2009, and the associate degree in fire science technology was approved in spring of 2010. The nine-month fire academy is approved by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and, over the last two years, has achieved 100% pass rate on the Texas Commission on Fire Protection state written exam. The program offers day and night classes, and cadets that have graduated from the LSC-Montgomery program have been hired by fire departments such as Houston, Conroe, The Woodlands, Montgomery, Spring, Beaumont and Willis.

The fire science technology program at LSC-Montgomery also offers community outreach by assisting local fire departments with continuing education, training in fire service, disciplines and certifications through the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, in courses such as driver operator, fire officer and fire instructor.

Griffin has plans to continue growth of the program, with the goal to expand the flashover chamber. The newly acquired piece of equipment is just phase one, he said, and he hopes to attain other phases and props, to complete the class A burn simulator, which burns ordinary combustibles such as wood, paper and trash, in addition to the programs already existing class B building, which burns gas.

For more information about the fire science program at LSC-Montgomery, visit www.LoneStar.edu/fire-science-dept-montgomery; or contact David Griffin at David.K.Griffin@lonestar.edu.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call (936) 273-7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.
 
Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion.  Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community college systems in the nation.  Dr. Steve Head is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.