SOUTH PORTLAND — Southern Maine Community College has started an institute to increase professional firefighter training and safety across the state.

College officials and fire chiefs from across Maine will announce the creation of the Maine Fire Service Institute on Friday at the State House in Augusta.

The institute, formerly the college’s Maine Fire Training and Education Program, will work with the chiefs to develop, assist and support local instructor training programs.

The institute also will develop an online academy training system, based at the college’s MIdcoast campus in Brunswick, with as many as five regional sites delivering first-responder training throughout the state.