SCHUMER URGES DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO APPROVE GRANT THAT WOULD CREATE A STATE-OF-THE ART, MOBILE FIRE TRAINING CENTER IN THE CITY OF ALBANY; SENATOR SAYS FED APPROVAL WOULD BE A WIN-WIN FOR ALBANY FIREFIGHTERS AND LOCAL ALBANY COMPANY THAT MANUFACTURES FIRE SIMULATOR
Senator Says New Mobile Fire Simulator-Trailer Would Enable The Albany Fire Department And Surrounding Capital Region Departments to Train On Virtually Every Aspect of Firefighting
State-Of-The-Art Simulator Would Be Built By Albany’s Own BullEx; Company Which Was Started By Three R.P.I Students, Has Grown Into World Leader In High-Tech Firefighter Training Apparatus
Schumer To Feds: Approve Grant To Help Train Albany’s Firefighters
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today joined firefighters at the Brevator Street Firehouse to announce his final push in support of the City of Albany’s application for an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG). Schumer said funding for the grant is allocated through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the city plans to use the funding to purchase a state-of-the-art mobile fire simulator trailer. The simulator would be designed by Albany’s very own BullEx, a local business success story, and global leader in high-tech fire training.
“This is a win-win for the Albany Fire Department and the local economy. Not only will these funds help the AFD purchase a simulator they so need and deserve, it will also benefit an Upstate New York company that is a worldwide leader in fire training simulators,” said Senator Schumer. “We all know first responders are our local heroes and that it is pivotal we provide them with the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs effectively. This an opportunity for the DHS to do just that. That is why I am urging them to sign, seal, and deliver these funds so that the Albany Fire Department has all the tools it needs to keep New Yorkers safe.”
Schumer explained the Albany Fire Department does not currently have a training center of its own, as it instead rents the use of training towers in neighboring communities. So, when they need to train a new class of recruits or when veteran firefighters need to hone their skills, Albany has to rent out the training tower in either Colonie or Bethlehem. However, both of these are heavily used by fire departments throughout Albany County, meaning that they are often crowded. Moreover, only one of the two allows the firefighters to do live fire training. But with federal support, the department will be able to purchase its own high-tech training center, which will enable the department, as well as their mutual aid partners in the Capital Region, to do hands on training, address fire behavior, forcible entry, ventilation, search and rescue, firefighter bailout and fire suppression.
The Albany Fire Department has partnered the Capitol Region’s very own BullEx to design a state-of-the-art mobile fire simulator that can be used to train recruits on virtually all aspects of firefighting. The simulator will allow the Albany fire department and its neighbors to do live fire training with propane-fed flames, which will give firefighters the real heat and fire behavior experience. It can fill a room with safe synthetic smoke so that trainees can practice search and rescue in zero visibility. It allows firefighters to practice the forcible entry needed to get in to burning structures, and roof ventilation needed to relieve the heat and gases that build up in a building fire. They can even practice firefighter bailout techniques, in case they are ever trapped in a burning building. All of these exercises will be housed in a mobile trainer that is safe for our first responders and the environment. Schumer added that without the federal funding the Albany Fire Department would not be able to afford the more the $460,000 cost of the fire simulator.
BullEx was created by three RPI students in the early 2000’s, the company was founded to produce a safe, reusable unit for OSHA mandated fire extinguisher training. It proved to be a successful venture and the company expanded globally. Now it is an international leader in fire training simulators and BullEx employs 61 people in Albany, and many more around the globe.
Schumer was joined by Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Albany Fire Chief Warren Abriel, and representatives of BullEx.
Schumer has long advocated for first responders. He previously sent a letter to FEMA urging them to support the Albany Fire Department’s request. Additionally, Schumer was an original sponsor of the legislation that created the Assistance to Firefighters Grant back in 1999. Since the grant stream was created in 2000, it has helped municipalities fund firefighter equipment and training, Capital Region fire departments specifically have received millions of dollars for firefighting gear, breathing apparatus, fire trucks and thermal imaging cameras that can help locate a victim in zero visibility and even find a small electrical fire hidden in a wall. The Assistance to Firefighters Grants are administered by the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with the Department's United States Fire Administration. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis to the applicants that most closely address the program's priorities and demonstrate financial need. More information on the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program can be accessed at http://www.fema.gov/firegrants.
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