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The Fire And First Aid Training Center

Fire and EMS training center buildings

About the Training Center

The Ocean County Training Center in Waretown opened its doors in September 1998 as the home of Ocean County's fire and first aid academies. Since that time countless numbers of community-spirited volunteers use the facility each and every day in order to learn new skills or hone those they have already been taught. From firefighters to emergency medical technicians, from law enforcement to Ocean County Vocational-Technical students, the Training Center, under the leadership of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners provides a top-notch learning experience for all of the men and women who give so much back to this great County.

When the facility first opened in 1998, it marked the culmination of years of planning and development overseen by an advisory committee that was dedicated to bringing about the finest facility possible - one that would provide firefighters and emergency medical technicians with the important tools they need to serve their communities. The members of the Fire and First Aid Training Center Advisory Committee spent countless hours making certain that when the doors finally opened to the center, it would be one all of Ocean County could truly be proud of.

The facility, located off Route 9 on Volunteer Way, is more than bricks and mortar. From the instructors to the students to the staff, it's a result of all their efforts combined that makes it the success that it is today. The Training Center stands as a tribute to the thousands of volunteers whether students or instructors who have come together as the backbone of the facility - breathing life into it each time they walk through its doors.

In time, the training center will be expanded to meet the growing needs of the emergency services professionals in Ocean County. The training center currently includes six individual buildings housed on 18 acres of property located at 200 Volunteer Way. Each building has individual and unique features that aid in the enhancement of the training of Ocean County's volunteers and personnel. Included at the training center site is an administration building, five classrooms, a break room and kitchen, an indoor dual overhead door training area, smoke house, burn building, natural gas fire simulator, extrication pad staging area, drill tower and control tower.

The goal of the Ocean County Training Center has always been to offer exceptional training to volunteers. Courses are run throughout the year to train new volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Veteran volunteer firefighters and EMTS can also take advantage of courses that will teach them the latest advances and techniques in these areas.

About the Staff

.Brian Gabriel - Director
The Ocean County Board of Commissioners appointed Brian Gabriel as the Director of the Ocean County Training Center, Ocean Township (Waretown) in January, 2022. This appointment followed the recent retirement of Directors Hal Morris and Kenneth (Jerry) Holman.
Brian was born and raised in Island Heights, NJ and has maintained his residency there to this day. He has been a member of the governing body in Island Heights for 13 years and has two years remaining on his 5th term as councilman.
The Gabriel family in Island Heights has always been very active volunteers in their community, including 4 generations of firefighters. Brian joined the Island Heights Fire Company in 1981 and has held most every executive and line position including Chief for three years (1992-94) and two terms as President. After his term as Chief, Brian was elected an Ocean County Deputy Fire Coordinator in 1997 serving 6 years. After the untimely death of Chief Fire Coordinator Michael Davenport, Brian’s role rose to Ocean County Chief Fire Coordinator in 2004 and served Ocean County in that voluntary capacity for 18 years through 2021. Brian sat on many committees in his position as Chief Coordinator including the Ocean County Emergency Management Council, Fire Service Liaison Committee and Ocean County Homeland Security Working Group just to name a few.
Brian and his team of Coordinators helped to manage mutual aid responses to many large scale emergencies. These emergencies include over a dozen Forest Fires including the 18,000 acre Warren Grove Bombing Range Fire, dozens of major structure fires, including the Seaside Boardwalk Fire, and several natural disasters including Hurricane Sandy, which was the largest organized mutual aid response in the history of New Jersey. For the last several months, he has most recently been working with Sheriff Mastronardy and the Health Department to organize and schedule vaccines for our Ocean County firefighters.
Brian brings a career in building construction, property Insurance damage estimation and 40 years of Fire Service experience to the Ocean County Training Center. As Director, Brian has a vision for the future and looks to build upon the past successes of Directors Morris and Holman to potentially expand the facility according to previous conceptual ideas and bring new training and recruiting ideas to our Ocean County volunteers for both Fire and EMS. These advancements will help our Fire and EMS volunteers as well as the many other agencies utilizing this facility including: Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, Ocean County Prosecutors Office, NJ Department of Corrections, US Coast Guard, NJ State Police, Ocean County Vocational School, many other Ocean County agencies and many local police departments.

Robert Contreras - EMS Training Coordinator
Robert Contreras was appointed as the EMS Coordinator for Ocean County in January 2024. Prior Robert had served as a manger emergency preparedness for a large hospital system in Florida for 2.5 years. Before relocating to Florida he was a founding member of the Brick Police EMS in 2006 serving as the Director of EMS until his departure in 2021. He also served as a deputy EMS coordinator and planner for Ocean County since 2020. During his time as the program Director, he was able to work with some of the most dedicated individuals and networked with some of the most inspiring leaders. He was able to take this small program and create it in to one of the most advanced and well know programs within New Jersey with the help of the employees. In addition to being an EMT he serves his community as a volunteer firefighter with the Laurelton Fire Company and is a certified Level 1 fire instructor. In 2008 he became a safety officer for the New Jersey EMS Task Force and in 2017 a planning team manager for the FEMA New Jersey Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue. He was deployed to the US Virgin Islands after Hurricane Irma and Maria as part of the EMAC request with the NJ EMS Task Force to assist with recovery efforts in the EMS community. This opportunity only broadened his passion for disaster planning and preparedness and emergency management, and eventually became a Certified Emergency Manager in New Jersey, a Certified Healthcare Emergency Professional (CHEP), and a Certified Emergency Disaster Professional (CEDP). He looks forward to working with all the Ocean County EMS agencies in his new role and to bring new and exciting opportunities to the Ocean County EMS agencies.

Dennis Allen - Fire Training Coordinator
Dennis Allen is a Certified Level 1 and 2 Fire Service Instructor, and Drill Ground Instructor with the State of New Jersey. Dennis is also certified by the State Division of Fire Safety as Fire Fighter Level 2, Fire Officer Level 2 and Incident Management Level 3. Further, he is a Youth Fire Setter Coordinator, Certified Instructor for the Police Training Commission and an Arson Investigator for the Division of Criminal Justice. In addition, Dennis has served as a Fire Fighter for 22 years with the Beachwood Volunteer Fire Company where he was former Chief and current Assistant Chief. Dennis believes in Pride and Ownership, History, and Tradition with in the Fire Service. "Never lose focus on why you joined the Fire Service".


General Information

Registration Process

Registration for Training Center classes is open to Ocean County firefighters and Emergency Responders. Registration for any course listed may be done via regular mail or fax. Electronic Registration is coming soon. The Chief Officer, Squad Captain or Emergency Management Coordinator must sign all registration forms.

Upon a course being filled all students selected will be notified by telephone that they have been accepted into the class. Each individual is responsible to cancel or confirm for him or herself. Failure to do so could result in their being removed from the class. No walk-in's will be allowed to attend any class.

Dress Code

For all indoor courses that are conducted in the classroom setting only, a casual but neat appearance is required. For any training session that is outside of the classroom setting, the lead instructor shall address jewelry and appropriate clothing. Students shall refrain from wearing tank tops, shorts and open-toed shoes such as sandals and flip-flops. All requirements for SCBA use will be followed to insure student safety.

No PPE shall be worn inside the administration building.

Training Request Forms & Hours


Just click the Training Facility Request form link below to complete the form online and expedite the process.

In order to keep an accurate record of training requests and to help prevent scheduling conflicts, the Ocean County Training Center requires any organization who wishes to use the facility to properly fill out and submit a facility request for training prior to the training taking place. Request forms must be signed and may be faxed or mailed to the Training Center.

There is a minimum of two-weeks notice for facility requests.

Assumption that a training request will be approved should not be made until either a confirmation letter is received or a verbal approval is given to the requesting agency.

Training Facility Request Form

Authority of Training Center to Cancel Or Suspend Training Sessions

Due to severe weather conditions, hazardous procedures or abuse of the facility and its property, the staff of the Ocean County Training Center shall have the authority to cancel, postpone or suspend any training session if deemed necessary. Any student, representing any organization, which uses inappropriate language, causes unrest or is disruptive or violent in nature, shall be immediately dismissed from the training session. Should this occur, a letter to the head of the organization that AUTHORITY OF TRAINING CENTER student represents will be sent detailing the nature of the incident. That student shall also be prohibited from attending training sessions at the Academy until corrective actions occur.

Academy Cancellations

If for any reason the Training Center has to cancel or postpone a course, an announcement of the cancellation will be made via:

1. Telephone, if possible

2. Ocean County Communications via - Fire Dispatch Channel and EMS 1

3. Radio station: K 98.5 FM WJRZ 100.1 FM WOBM 92.7 FM & 1160 AM

Notification of Injury

Any student sustaining an injury during a training session shall immediately report the incident to the lead instructor or officer in charge. A Training Center accident report must be completed and given to the on-site Training Center representative before leaving the Ocean County Training Center grounds.

Damage/Malfunction of Academy Equipment

Any malfunction of, or damage to Academy equipment must be reported to the on-site Training Center representative before leaving the Ocean County Training Center grounds.

Food & Drinks

Food and Drinks are prohibited from all classroom sessions unless medically required. The Training Center is equipped with a lunchroom area (tables and chairs) inside the building. There is also a refrigerator and microwave in the kitchen. The Training Center recycles, so please used the containers made available for plastic, aluminum and trash.

The lunchroom may be used for any food or drinks brought on site for classroom or outdoor training sessions. It is the responsibility of the using organization to ensure all debris is properly disposed of after use. Water jugs and an ice machine are available at the Control Tower for training sessions.

Under no circumstances shall any Alcoholic Beverages be permitted on the Training Center grounds.