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Published 2/26/2004
Owens Community College and The University of Findlay Collaborate on Homeland Security Initiatives

Owens Community College and The University of Findlay Collaborate on Homeland Security Initiatives Owens Community College and The University of Findlay are entering into a unique agreement, establishing a regional organization to heighten the Midwest's educational opportunities within emergency training. As part of the new partnership, the two academic institutions are creating the Great Lakes Educational Consortium for Homeland Security Training.

"Owens Community College and The University of Findlay are recognized as regional leaders in emergency response training," said Christa Adams, Ph.D., President of Owens Community College. "Providing area police, fire and emergency services personnel with the highest level in real-world, scenario training plays a critical role in ensuring our nation's safety and protection. The formation of this consortium will strengthen our educational efforts and cultivate new partnerships and homeland security programs with colleges and universities throughout the Midwest."

Both Owens Community College and The University of Findlay are committed to broadening this consortium and fostering collaboration with a host of other educational institutions in the Great Lakes region.

The Great Lakes Educational Consortium for Homeland Security Training's primary mission will be to promote, support and enhance educational response training through collaboration among academic institutions engaging in homeland security initiatives. Member colleges and universities will look to elevate the Midwest's level of preparedness for safety forces through the continued advancement and creation of integrated academic programs, which incorporate the latest in emergency training.

"The development of this consortium will provide emergency first responders from around the Great Lakes region with state-of-the-art, hands-on training," said DeBow Freed, Ph.D., President of The University of Findlay. "The University of Findlay and Owens Community College offer both indoor and outdoor training simulations. Of special note, this critical group of responders can access continuous training when they return to their firehouses and their police stations via distance learning programs and future live scenario broadcast capabilities."

This homeland security consortium represents the only educational collaboration of this magnitude in the Midwest. The combination of both facilities will provide a unified, concurrent educational experience and more training assets than any other homeland security project.

Owens Community College has been at the forefront in providing educational training to safety forces for over three decades. On April 30, the College will break ground for a new $10 million Fire and Police Training Center for Professional Development and Homeland Security. Owens' state-of-the-art facility will be located on a 110-acre site, featuring a Command and Simulation Center for Regional Anti-Terrorism and Emergency Management. The interior of the Center will consist of a simulation containment chamber, a command center and state-of-the-art classrooms and computer and science laboratories.

Phase I of Owens' initial project will be to install an infrastructure of water lines, gas lines and fiber optic cable. In addition, the first phase will include a smokeless burn building and an observation tower. Additional Phases will include a mock city and a variety of other simulation scenarios.

Each segment of this project will be accompanied by the installation of a fiber optic link video system, which is connected to a computerized system. The innovative technology will allow for real-time observations of training exercises from remote locations. The College's new Center has already received $1.125 million in funding from the state of Ohio.

Owens' longstanding commitment to regional training for safety forces includes in 2002 signing an agreement with the Ohio Fire Academy to provide college coursework to full- and part-time firefighters throughout the state of Ohio. This collaboration enables fire academy students to earn an Owens associate's degree, while simultaneously receiving instructional and laboratory training. Owens is the first higher educational institution in the state to offer any type of degree program to Ohio Fire Academy students.

The College currently offers associate degrees and certificate programs in Fire Science Technology and Criminal Justice Science Technology, as well as Emergency Medical Technician Certification. Courses offered within the public service curricula include: criminal law and procedure, patrol operations, crime scene processing, fire fighting tactics and command, hazardous materials, fire inspection principles and first responder.

Among the local emergency and law enforcement agencies in which the College partners with are: the Findlay Police Department, Hancock County Sheriff's Office, Lucas County Sheriff's Office, North Baltimore Police Department, Pandora Police Department, Perrysburg Fire Department, Perrysburg Township Police Department, Tiffin Police Department, Toledo Corrections Center, Toledo Fire Department, Toledo Police Department and the Wood County Sheriff's Office.

The University of Findlay's School for Environmental and Emergency Management (SEEM) encompasses both academic and training programs. Since 1986, more than 1,000 students have graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees in environmental, safety and health management and more than 70,000 persons nationwide have participated in the SEEM training courses.

In 1999, The Center for Terrorism Preparedness (CTP) was created as a separate program within SEEM. The goal of the CTP is to enable communities and organizations around the country to develop fully integrated training programs that assist in the prevention of, preparation for, response to, and recovery from terrorist incidents, accidents and natural disasters.

The CTP develops and delivers "all hazards" training and consulting programs for first responders, law enforcement, corporate safety and security, public health/medical, and school safety and security officials. Among the many courses offered by the CTP are: hospital decontamination, unified incident command, maritime security, transportation security, travel safety, workplace and school violence, as well as a newly created master's-level certificate in emergency management.

SEEM operates two hands-on training centers in Findlay. These facilities allow for rail car, tank truck, ditch/stream spill, gas cylinder, confined space entry and rescue, and many more practical, hands-on training scenarios.

The combined efforts of The University of Findlay's School of Environmental and Emergency Management with the training programs and facilities at Owens Community College will provide for an unmatched combination of training resources for first responders.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Ohio with 27 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay- area Campuses, Owens serves more than 44,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for Northwest Ohio college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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