What was once just a dream of a very passionate and dedicated Georgia Fire Marshal is now not only a reality, but an astounding learning environment for Georgia’s Public Safety Community. Recently, during the forty-sixth Annual Georgia Fire Safety Symposium, the George M. Lanier Fire Protection Laboratory was dedicated and officially opened on the campus of Georgia Public Safety Training Center (GPSTC). State Fire Marshal Swayne Garriss led the ceremonious event, which included remarks from the Director of GPSTC Chris Wigginton, Fire Academy Division Director David Wall, Billy Woods with the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association, Meryl Franklin with the Georgia Association of Fire Safety Equipment Dealers and Mrs. Diane Lanier. Mrs. Lanier shared a story of her late husband’s vision and inspiration before the cutting of the “fire hose” signifying the opening.
The lab was named for the late George Lanier because he was in many ways the driving force behind fire prevention and code enforcement in Georgia from 1964 to 2014. Lanier was the first Fire Marshal in Floyd County while serving with the City of Rome Fire Department. After retiring from Rome, Lanier went to work at the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Unfortunately, he lost his battle to cancer just a few months shy of the groundbreaking ceremony of the George M. Lanier Fire Protection Laboratory held on April 21, 2014. Lanier attended over forty consecutive Georgia Fire Safety Symposiums during his fire service career, and he will be forever remembered for his passion and the driving force for making Georgia safe. Chief Wall remarked, “I am really proud to have a legacy here, from my friend George, who we will always remember.”
The Fire Prevention Lab is a 2,400 square foot state-of-the-art, hands-on, technical firefighting training facility that will provide students with the knowledge and skills to operate in the environment regardless of when they were or will be built. The lab is a project representing a unique public/private partnership of community stakeholders to address the significant educational challenges in the area of specialized fire protection systems. Partners include: the Georgia Association of Fire Safety Equipment Dealers, the Georgia Fire Marshal’s Office, the Georgia Fire Sprinkler Association, and the Georgia Fire Academy Division of GPSTC. The structure of the laboratory was the only portion of the project funded through the state. All of the equipment and displays as well as their assembly, costing of thousands of dollars, were donated by various companies and associations. The facility will house numerous programs, sponsored by various associations and equipment dealers. The programs include, but are not limited to, fully functional fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, specialized fire protection systems, HVAC systems and other related fire protection equipment. Courses will now provide Georgia Fire Service students with the opportunity to view, touch and operate real fire protection systems in the classroom setting.