In 2016, The Multi Agency Academic Cooperative (MAAC) Foundation, a nonprofit organization, was created under the leadership of Chief Stewart G. McMillan by convening a group of public servants to address the need for additional training in the emergency services sector. The founding team consists of over 20 emergency service professionals who have come together to assess needs, determine curriculum, and to secure the funding to develop the states most comprehensive training campus dedicated to first responders. Prior to the development of the MAAC Foundation campus, law enforcement, firefighters and EMS personnel responded to calls together, yet seldom did they train together. This was mostly due to not having a coordinated effort and a designated training facility that supported collaboration.
Through a partnership with the Indiana District 1 Training Council, the MAAC offers a realistic, hands-on approach to emergency services training. Together, we have created a state-of-the-art campus that serves as a leading provider of safety, emergency preparedness and response training. The 28-acre campus in Valparaiso, Indiana, offers quality instruction built to meet National Fire Protection Association requirements. Features include a 7,000 sq. ft. indoor training area, three 45-person classrooms, a tactical building, a 4-story drill tower, a live burn building, a flashover trainer, residential home training structures, a vehicle extrication area, a virtual reality simulator and a multitude of training props. Firefighters training at the MAAC can leave their equipment at their home station so they don’t have to be taken out of service. The center can host six or seven departments at a
time, rotating between different set-ups, without having to worry about a shortage of equipment.
Although, the MAAC’s focus began with the fire service in mind, it quickly evolved to include law enforcement and EMS. This is the first project of its kind, created and funded utilizing both private and public dollars. The MAAC is serving as a model for regional training across Indiana and maximizing the use of taxpayer dollars. Most classes are provided at no cost to students, local departments, or taxpayers. The MAAC operates seven days a week; many of these days until 10:00 p.m. This time frame allows responders to better fit their training into their schedules.
As a result of this model, the MAAC has hosted over 200,000 direct training contact hours since January of 2017. Classes range from Hazmat technology and propane fires to K-9 units and SWAT teams. In addition to providing high-quality education for our first responders, the MAAC’s educational outreach extends beyond traditional training to include leadership training for commanding officers, a Fire & Rescue program for high school juniors and seniors, meeting space for community organizations to collaborate on important issues, and public education events as well.