Gaston College’s RESTC specializes in Nuclear Fire Brigade and High-Risk Response Training and firebrigadeleads the state in the delivery of Industrial Fire Brigade Training. This program provides training for local, regional, and national industry through the delivery of customized programs of training addressing the specific needs of each customer. These programs include on-site visits, consultations, and specialized courses in the areas of confined space, hazardous materials, basic and advanced fire suppression techniques, and rescue operations.


Industrial Fire Brigade Training

Regional Emergency Training Services Center

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RESTC History

In the early 1980, a desire was expressed by the Gaston County Firefighters’ Association to construct a training structure. It was suggested that the Gaston College campus would be an advantageous location. The original intentions were for this structure to be a tri-level training tower and smoke building. In the fall of 1983, a study was performed to determine the needs and the feasibility of an Emergency Services Training Center on the Gaston College campus.

The consensus was that local and state emergency service training could be greatly improved by the construction of a centrally located comprehensive training facility. It was determined that the facility would be named “REGIONAL EMERGENCY TRAINING SERVICES CENTER.” Once the location was decided upon, a Planning Task Force was established to formulate further plans. This Task Force consisted of representatives from the Fire Service, Law Enforcement, EMS, Emergency Management, Industry, County and Municipal Government, and Gaston College. A needs survey concluded that a live burn structure with a drill tower, along with flammable liquid and liquefied petroleum gas pits, were the most urgent concerns. The initial construction of the burn building and flammable liquid pits was accomplished at a cost of approximately $3 million. Funding for the facility was derived from state and county governments, as well as additional support from other local government agencies.

The RESTC became fully operational in January 1991.


The RESTC is located on 17 acres within the southern portion of the Gaston College campus, in Dallas North Carolina, in the county of Gaston. The focal point of the facility is a five story, 21,000 square foot burn building, which is currently the largest of its type in the United States. This structure contains three live burn floors, and 14 interior “burn areas”. Burn rooms range in size from 12 ’x14’ to 20’x20’ to 40’x20’ to 90’x30’.  There is also an interior area that was designed and engineered for combustible liquid fire training. The lower level was constructed to simulate aspects of a nuclear reactor building. The burn building also houses a pitched – roof ventilation training area, 5 – story vertical confined space shaft, and 1800 square foot smoke maze. It includes operational sprinkler and standpipe systems, an emergency alarm and communication system, emergency smoke evacuation system, and pressurized stairways. The building was constructed to comply with all NFPA 1402 recommendations. The large mass of the structure allows multiple evolutions to be conducted simultaneously.

In addition to the burn building itself, there are various “special situation” simulations located on the grounds of the RESTC. These simulations include 12 flammable liquid or liquid petroleum gas pits, confined space areas, hazardous materials areas, and emergency driving course. There is also training pavilion on site, which houses a fitness center, shower rooms, apparatus and equipment areas.

Burn Building Floor Plans


Josh Crisp – Director, RESTC/Fire and Rescue Training – APS 100

William Thompson Assistant Director, Regional Emergency Services Training Center (RESTC) – APS 102