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Public Safety Center of Excellence

NTC’s Public Safety Center of Excellence (PSCOE) is the region’s premier training facility for local, state and federal training.

1603 Champagne Street, Merrill, WI 54452

The Public Safety Center of Excellence offers 24/7, all hazards, all weather advanced training in a technically integrated and realistic environment. The 36-acre site is located 20 minutes north of the NTC Wausau campus on the edge of the City of Merrill, an area rich with a natural environment suitable for multiple uses including water rescue and rural wilderness training.


The Public Safety Center of Excellence provides a wide variety of training opportunities. Reserve classroom space for large or small groups, or set up hands-on training using tools that include an emergency village, splash tower, burn tower and more. Customized, cost-effective training in emergency management and public safety is available to meet your department’s needs.

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Explore the Facilities

From classroom spaces outfitted with the latest technology to real-life training apparatus, including a Tactical Safety Range and Emergency Village, the Public Safety Center of Excellence offers a wide array of hands-on training facilities that prepare public safety professionals for the worst in the best simulated environment for learning.

Learn more about our state-of-the-art facilities by exploring the interactive map of the Center:

  1. Wilderness training area for search & rescue and SWAT

    Five acres of wooded and marshland to aid responders in search and rescue, SWAT operations, and other rural responses.

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  2. Deer stand approach & rescue training site

    Two different model tree stands to train emergency personnel in responding to medical emergencies and law enforcement approaches to hunters found in tree stands.

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  3. Military style bunk house*


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  4. Railroad crossing and railcar training area

    Railroad crossing with railcars to enhance a response to a railcar derailment, hazmat spill and much more.

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  5. Trench rescue training

    The trench rescue prop simulates conditions that may exist when construction of water and sewer lines is taking place. Students are given the opportunity to develop trench rescue shoring skills in a controlled environment while simultaneously communicating with team members that are either in the trench or on the outer edge.

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  6. Collapsed venues for search & rescue and K9 training

    A real world building collapse prop to train emergency responders in search and rescue, recovery, and incident investigations.

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  7. Two-lane roadway with DOT signage, centerline and fog line

    Roadway used for emergency responses and traffic incident management training.

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  8. Clandestine lab*


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  9. Campsite approach training

    Realistic campsite training prop to teach law enforcement approach to camp site criminal incidents, firefighters response to campfire situations, and EMS response to medical and traumatic injuries encountered at a campsite.

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  10. Air medical landing zone training site and roundabout

    Area used for air medical landing zone preparation and patient loading evolutions.

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  11. Dry hydrant location for rural fire water operations

    Rural fire pumping operations with obtaining water supply from a “dry hydrant” location.

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  12. Water rescue and recovery training site

    Water reservoir used for water rescue and water recovery scenarios to better train the responder in water emergencies.

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  13. Search and rescue building with instructor catwalk

    Five room search and rescue open building used for firefighter search and rescue, EMS patient removal, and law enforcement tactical operations. Catwalk above allows instructor views of all operations occurring.

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  14. Interactive classroom with worship facade*


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  15. Restaurant response training

    Replicated restaurant used for emergency response to commercial eatery emergencies and a briefing room co-located for planning and command briefings.

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  16. Mobile home response site*

    Trailer/mobile family dwelling used for firefighter search and rescue, EMS patient care and extrication, and law enforcement room clearing and tactical evolutions.

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  17. Fire splash tower

    Fire splash tower used for firefighter ladder evolutions and tactical rope use during tactical courses.

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  18. Vehicle extrication pad and downed power lines simulator

    Location to perform vehicle extrication training and downed power line response.

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  19. LP burn simulators for fire training

    Five different gas props to aid firefighter classes in fire response training. Including a vehicle fire, dumpster fire, gas grill fire, LP tank fire, and fire extinguisher training.

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  20. 4-story certified burn tower with rope rappelling capabilities

    Certified four story burn tower capable of live fire training for firefighter training, patient extrication for EMS, building clearing for law enforcement, and rope repelling/rescue for all hazards.

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  21. Single family home with basement

    Four bedroom single family dwelling used for firefighter search and rescue, EMS patient care and extrication, and law enforcement room clearing and tactical evolutions.

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  22. Four “Main St.” business district buildings (Emergency Village) for urban simulation trainings

    Urban street training businesses to including replicated props and furniture to simulate real-life scenarios.

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  23. Indoor shooting simulator

    State of the art computerized indoor shooting simulator used for law enforcement response to firearm high stress situations.

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  24. All-hazards driving simulator

    State of the art indoor driving simulators that includes driving simulations in a squad car, fire engine, ambulance, and commercial truck.

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  25. EVOC skid pad and defensive driving area

    Three acre skid pad used for EVOC courses in defensive driving operations.

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  26. State-of-the-art control tower and technology center with briefing room and classroom

    State of the art incident control tower and tactical operations facility, including camera, sound, and lighting controls throughout the facility. Briefing room for instruction including a SMART board to playback scenarios and evolutions.

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  27. Natural gas leak detection field

    The leak detection field is used to train public service utility employees in the detection of gas leaks.

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  28. DOT regulated traffic standards

    DOT regulated traffic control lights with instructor controls of the light rotations.

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  29. Tactical safety range

    Eleven lane shooting range, that accommodates both rifle and handgun. In addition the facility has a classroom, and weapon cleaning room.

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  30. Classroom location with three classrooms

    Main classroom facility includes three state of the art classrooms (one with video broadcasting capability), a student break room, and a three stall apparatus bay that houses emergency response vehicles.

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*Future projects in progress.