Anna fire station turned into an international classroom during the week of March 17 as the Anna Fire Department hosted a training program taught by Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEES), a member of the Texas A&M University System.

The Fire Officer II course (part of a five-course program) is geared to increase knowledge of various management and leadership abilities to effectively lead and manage fire service personnel both on and off the fire ground. As Anna Fire Chief Tim Gothard explained, students acquired skills in fire officer development, such as employee evaluations, employee discipline, budget process and policy and procedure development during the 40 hour course which consisted of lecture and skill sessions.

This program is available to members of volunteer and paid fire departments, as well as industries which need or wish to obtain state or national certification. "TEES is known worldwide for their training program, which is also recognized by the Department of Defense," Gothard pointed out.

The course was attended by 17 firefighters, seven from Anna, others from the Texas cities of McKinney, Frisco, Irving and Jacksonville, one from California and three from outside the United States – Saudi Arabia, Portugal and the Caribbean island of Curacao.

How does someone halfway around the world wind up in a training course in Anna? Well, the answers from Mario Gomes, a NATO aviation firefighter in Portugal and Department of Defense employees Michael Marte from Curacao and Khaled Al-Shamman from Saudi Arabia were the same: they all were interested in advancing their careers, they needed to take this course and they found it posted on the internet.

And how did Anna Fire Department got to host the course? According to Gothard, it took a bit of networking.

"Part one of the training program was in Lewisville, where a number of Anna firefighters attended. They also wanted to continue to part two. I know the person in charge there; he put in a request to TEES and they agreed to hold it in Anna," he explained.

On the other hand, it certainly didn’t hurt that Gothard will be teaching a week-long Firefighting I course at Texas A&M in July for the 19th year.