New Public Safety Training Center helps BCCC meet community’s needs

Published 5:40 pm Thursday, September 16, 2021

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Beaufort County Community College held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its Public Safety Training Center and dedicated the lecture hall within the building in honor of David A. Crosby on Thursday.

The newest building on campus serves the college’s EMS and fire programs and entered use in 2021, although the college postponed holding a dedication ceremony out of public health concerns. The extended family of David Crosby was in attendance at the ceremony.

The Public Safety Training Center (Building 15) is the final component of BCCC’s Emergency Training and Workforce Complex. Construction was awarded to Farrior & Sons of Farmville, N.C. The 5028-square-foot building includes two classrooms and two vehicle bays to store training vehicles. One of the classrooms is a state-of-the-art EMS lab for hands-on training on a full-body trauma patient simulator.

The Emergency Training and Workforce Complex consists of the Emergency Vehicle Driving Pad­– the largest public driving pad in North Carolina–and the Fire Training Tower, a facility where firefighters train in rappelling, navigating dark and smoke-filled buildings, and rescue operations involving multi-story structures. The driving pad is used by law enforcement training programs and departments from across the region, as well as by BCCC’s motorcycle safety classes.

Construction of the $2.1 million building was funded through the voter-supported 2016 Connect NC Bond. The bond has funded $6.5 million in improvements and additions to BCCC’s campus, including a physical accessibility overhaul consisting of automated doors, new sidewalks and pedestrian crossings, and elevator updates; the construction of the Emergency Vehicle Driving Pad, including lighting; and initial capital purchases for the new boatbuilding program.

David Crosby was a respected volunteer EMT and instructor in Beaufort County. He served the communities of Bath, Sydney and Community as a volunteer. Crosby attended Hudson Valley Community College and York College, and later earned a master’s degree from East Carolina University. He and his wife Lucy lived in Belhaven for 32 years.

Crosby worked with BCCC for 28 years, working as associate dean of continuing education, coordinator of compensatory education, an occupational extension support instructor, and occupational extension director. Through these roles, Crosby oversaw personal enrichment programs, occupational training, fire training, high school equivalency, human resource development, CPR, and EMS programs. Through the programs he taught and oversaw, he touched the lives of many people in Beaufort County.

More than 250 students go through fire and EMS programs in a typical year, including both initial certification and continuing education. These students are currently disbursed among different classrooms on campus. With the addition of BCCC’s Associate in Applied Science in Emergency Medical Science bridging program, this number is expected to increase. Hospitals have started hiring paramedics to fill nursing roles in intensive care units and emergency departments, adding more versatility to the certification.

The EMS program has seen a recent spike in enrollment, due in part to the paramedic program’s high success rate. The program saw 19 complete the initial emergency technician class and 28 complete the paramedic class.

“Our vision is focused on improving the quality of life for the residents of our region,” said David Loope, BCCC President. “There is no more direct way to achieve this goal than training first responders in fire, EMS, and law enforcement. The new Public Safety Complex will enable us to meet the needs of our large service area for decades to come.”

BCCC serves a four-county region that contains only one staffed fire and rescue department within the City of Washington. Annual training by firefighters and first responders is key to the safety of area residents, and assets like the driving pad are not available anywhere else in the region.