By Jake King
It’s common for people to walk by the Renninger gym and figure it to be just another brick building on campus. What’s so special about such a generic looking building? But inside is a training center that conducts safety sessions aimed at teaching emergency response.
The on-campus facility houses training structures that aid in the sessions geared toward confined space training, incident command, emergency preparedness and more. For those not afraid to spend a work day in a hazmat suit, this is the suitable career path.
The academic program at UF, established in 1986, allows students majoring in ESOH (environmental safety and occupational health) to get a real hands-on approach to their work. ESOH students take on a more unorthodox approach to learning. When they’re not sitting in class lectures, they’re participating in sessions.
“We have these miscellaneous certifications,” said Leslie York, sophomore ESOH major.
York said that part of her curriculum is to certify in sessions such as confined space, first aid, incident command, and much more.
ESOH students who graduate from UF worked to implement their skills with companies such as Ohio Materials Corporation, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and the Ohio EPA.
In addition to the on-campus facility, a much more extensive complex lies at 5000 Fostoria Ave. in Findlay, OH.
Randal Van Dyne, assistant vice president of sponsored programs, said the five acre Fostoria road facility is centered on “emergency response training.”
“We have real cars and tanks and trucks and ditch stream spill scenarios and things out there that really allow people to get into the hands-on aspect of responding to an emergency,” said Van Dyne.
But it’s not specific toward students, the facility reaches out to a much larger network.
“Most of the training we do is not for our students as much as it is for industry people who are coming in through their company, or on their own, to take training here or training that we offer at their location,” said Van Dyne.
The all-hazards program is one that is not just specific to Findlay, but spans nationwide. According to findlayallhazards.com, there are nearly 11,000 people at 270 locations. What contributes a great deal to the success of the overall program are the companies or individuals that take advantage of the training being offered.
“Findlay All Hazards has been a long time provider of training tailored to the needs of environmental and hazard response personnel of Ford Motor Company’s Research & Engineering Center,” said a training coordinator from Ford research and engineering center.
Professions of all fields can make use of these facilities — even journalists.
They prepare news-gathering professionals by equipping them with the skills needed to evaluate a disaster situation, safe operation, and how to escape threatening situations. The professionals who take advantage of the training program participate in sessions that focus on how to assess a dangerous situation and then escape it.
Development of programs at the all-hazards programs continues to grow and expand as more threats reach the surface. With terrorist attacks and school or public shootings continuously rising, training for preparedness of these threats now must be taught.
The all-hazards training program makes clear that although threats are evolving and emerging constantly, the program combats these changes by advanced preparation and tailoring to any situation.
“We do a lot in emergency preparedness that actually allows people to deal with any kind of emergency” said Van Dyne.