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Centre County First Responder Training Center

Expansion plans are in the works for a firefighter and emergency responder training site in Centre County.

As many companies, especially volunteer fire companies, struggle to maintain staffing numbers, the training involved remains a critical issue.

On Tuesday night, in downtown State College, fire crews were called to the Waffle Shop restaurant after flames and smoke were spotted in the building.

It was upgraded to a two-alarm fire, meaning two fire companies and other emergency personnel were called.

“So, when two companies work together, they know they have the same base of initial training.”

That baseline of similar training is the focus at Centre County’s public safety building.

On Wednesday, a crew from the University Park Airport was involved in a training exercise.

Since it first opened, the facility has staged similar training programs for thousands of emergency responders from across the region.

“Here is where it all starts. This building serves all compliments across Pennsylvania. 18 counties come here to train.”

Some of that training is done in classrooms, like you find in many schools.

Officials here, the Centre County administrators, say they are now planning to add more classrooms, and other features, in a $4 million project.

“We’d like to add four classrooms and an ambulance bay that can be integrated in the classrooms, so responders can go between ambulance bay and classrooms.”

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