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December 15, 2017

Maine Maritime Academy to build $2.5M firefighting training facility

Maine Maritime Academy plans to build a new $2.5 million shipboard firefighting training facility on land it owns in Penobscot.

The Ellsworth American reported the facility is expected to be operational by fall 2018. It will feature cutting-edge technology to allow undergraduate students, graduate students, local firefighters and professional mariners to safely practice firefighting skills in realistic scenarios. Students currently learn firefighting at a facility in Ellsworth.

Capt. Nathan Gandy, the dean of maritime training and commandant of midshipmen at MMA, told the paper the facility will include a three-story structure with multiple chambers designed to replicate areas in a ship. Gas burners can be adjusted or rearranged to simulate fires in different parts of the ship. The facility is expected to be helpful to local fire departments that might be called upon to fight a cruise ship fire.

"This facility will train the fire department how to find the ship plans, how to interpret them and how to find where they are in the ship so they don't have to learn on the fly," Gandy said.

There are few similar facilities along the East Coast. MMA's is expected to be a significant revenue generator for the college, drawing mariners who need to certify or recertify.

And it could boost workforce development within Maine, with Gandy stating: "This facility is setting us up to be able to help the resident go on to a very lucrative and productive career."

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