Volume 8, Number 3
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Member Spotlight: Bucks County Community College
BCCC Instructors Span the Globe to Make the World a Safer Place
Bucks County Community College
When the city of Seoul, South Korea, needed certification training for its professional firefighters, it turned to Bucks County Community College.
“We’ve been delivering programs in South Korea for the U.S. Army since March 2001,” says Edward Wurster, Director of Certification and Curriculum at the Bucks County Public Safety Training Center, which is run by BCCC. “Through our interactions with the Army, we began training the U.S. Air Force, which led to connections with the Seoul Metropolitan Fire Department.”
Wurster says BCCC instructor Thomas Lange spent a month in Seoul, providing the first-ever professional certification program for the city’s firefighters. Wurster joined him for about two weeks, teaching courses like hazardous materials operations and demonstrating how to contain flammable spills.
It was Wurster’s sixth visit to South Korea for BCCC, where he has worked for four years to educate firefighters from Bucks County and across the globe. The college has also sent instructors to seven other countries, including Japan, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Next year, the college will also train firefighters in Colombia.
With more than 72,000 students each year, the Bucks County Public Safety Training Center is the largest emergency training school in Pennsylvania. “We’re very much focused on trying to help make the fire service better,” says Wurster, who also volunteers as fire chief in Abington Township. “Our primary focus is to improve the safety of Bucks County, and it expands from there.”
In addition to training Bucks County firefighters, the Public Safety Training Center educates personnel from all branches of the U.S. military. It also provides industrial-safety training to companies like Merck, Johnson & Johnson, and PECO Energy, Wurster says.
“Our instructors that we send [overseas] are Bucks County firefighters. We have that recognition across the world,” explains Wurster. “We bring that expertise and knowledge back here to the county.”
The Bucks County Public Safety Training Center, located in Doylestown, offers 33 levels of professional firefighter certification, according to Wurster, and 12 more will soon be added. “There aren’t many agencies that offer more than we do,” he says. The college also offers academic degrees and certificates in Fire Science, Fire Investigation, and the newly added Emergency Management and Public Safety.
The center is accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress, and by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications. To learn more about the Bucks County Public Safety Training Center, call 215-340-8417 or visit www.bucks.edu/publicsafety
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