STANDING WITH MAYOR KATHY SHEEHAN AND ALBANY FIREFIGHTERS, SCHUMER UNVEILS NEW, STATE-OF-THE-ART FIRE TRAINING SIMULATOR TRAILER, ACQUIRED WITH FEDERAL FUNDING HE FOUGHT RELENTLESSLY FOR
New Mobile Fire Simulator-Trailer Will Enable The Albany Fire Department And Mutual Aid Partners To Hone Skills Needed To Safely And Efficiently Respond To The Most Daunting Emergencies
Schumer Previously Traveled To Albany In July 2017, On His Annual 62 County Tour Of New York State, To Support The City’s Application For The Grant Funding Needed To Acquire The Simulator; Says Tour Helps Teach Him The Needs And Issues Of Upstate Communities, So He Can Go Down To Washington And Get Them Solved
Schumer: New Training Simulator Boosts The Safety Of Both Albany Residents And Courageous Firefighters
Standing at the Port of Albany, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today joined Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, LION Fire Training Equipment Marketing Director Ray Perez-Pearson, Albany Fire Chief Joe Gregory, and Albany firefighters to unveil the City’s new state-of-the-art mobile fire simulator trailer. Schumer said that the City of Albany was able to construct the trailer thanks to a $426,444 federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG), administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that he worked tirelessly to help the City secure. Schumer detailed that the simulator was designed by Albany’s very own LION Fire Training Equipment, formerly BullEx, a local business success story and global leader in high-tech training. Schumer explained that this accomplishment shows exactly why his yearly 62 county tour of New York State, which he concluded today in Washington County, is such an important tradition. Because he visited the Brevator Street Firehouse back in 2017, he was able to learn of Albany’s need for a firefighter training center and help the City secure the grant funding they needed to create one.
“This state-of-the-art new firefighting trailer proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, why my annual 62 county tour of New York State is such a valuable tradition, both for myself and the residents of Upstate New York. It helps me learn about the needs of all of our communities – for example, Albany’s lack of a training facility for its courageous firefighters – so that I can come back to Washington D.C. and fight with everything I’ve got to accomplish them,” said Senator Schumer. “Today, I couldn’t be prouder to stand with Mayor Sheehan, Chief Gregory and Albany firefighters to unveil the City’s new fire simulator trailer, which was purchased with federal AFG grant that I worked relentlessly to secure. The new trailer ensures that when Albany firefighters – our local heroes – put their lives on the line to protect ours, they will be as prepared as possible to handle any and all emergencies.”
Schumer explained that previously, the Albany Fire Department did not have a training center of its own, as it instead rented the use of training towers in neighboring communities. So, when they needed to train a new class of recruits or when veteran firefighters needed to hone their skills, Albany was forced to shell out much-needed funding to rent 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, and are starting to become outdated. Moreover, only one of the two allows the firefighters to do live fire training. But with the federal AFG support that Schumer fought to secure, the department was 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.
Schumer visited the Brevator Street Firehouse in Albany in July of 2017 to launch a major push to support the City of Albany’s application for AFG funding. Additionally, Schumer bolstered the City’s application in a letter to FEMA in 2017. Schumer added that without this federal funding, which he fought tirelessly for, the Albany Fire Department would not have been able to afford the more than $460,000 cost of the fire simulator.
The Albany Fire Department partnered with the Capital Region’s very own BullEx, now part of LION Fire Equipment, 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. This allows firefighters to practice the forcible entry needed to get into burning structures, and roof ventilation needed to relieve the heat and gases that build up in a building fire. Albany firefighters can even practice firefighter bailout techniques in the training facility, in case they are ever trapped in a burning building. All of these exercises will be housed in a mobile trailer that is safe for both Albany first responders and the environment.
BullEx was created by three Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) students in the early 2000’s, and was founded to produce a safe, reusable unit for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandated fire extinguisher training. BullEx proved to be an exceedingly successful venture, to the extent that the company was able to expand across the globe. Now, part of LION, they are an international leader in the design and manufacture of fire training simulators that employs 77 people in Albany and many more around the world.
Schumer was joined by Mayor of the City of Albany Kathy Sheehan, Albany Fire Chief Joe Gregory, LION Fire Training Equipment Marketing Director Ray Perez-Pearson, and City of Albany firefighters.
“The acquisition of this mobile training trailer will continue to ensure the Albany Fire Department has the most state-of-the-art training apparatus available to best prepare our members for a wide array of emergencies,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Thank you to Senator Schumer for advocating on the City’s behalf and securing the funding that made the purchase of this vital resource possible. Thank you as well to State Farm for helping provide a portion of the funding for the City of Albany’s grant match.”
“With the purchase of this new mobile training trailer, the Albany Fire Department will now have access to its own training facility for the first time in decades,” said Chief Joseph Gregory. “The advanced technology of this fire training unit will allow our members to develop and enhance their situational awareness in multiple skill areas and better prepare them in a more realistic environment.”
Schumer has long advocated for both Capital Region and New York State first responders. In fact, he 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 (DHS) Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 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.
A copy of Schumer’s original letter to FEMA appears below.
Dear Secretary Johnson:
I am pleased to write in support of the Albany Fire Department’s request for funding under FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. Such funding will enable the Albany Fire Department to purchase a mobile firefighter training simulator.
The Albany Fire Department has a long history of successful emergency response, and much of their success comes from the significant amount of time their members spend training for various emergency situations. Unfortunately, the Department does not currently have a dedicated training facility within Albany, and as such is forced to rent a training facility outside of town. The acquisition of a mobile firefighter training simulator will not only provide an opportunity for advanced hands-on training for the Department’s firefighters, but will eliminate the need to pay rental fees for an outside training facility.
With funding, a mobile firefighter training simulator will greatly improve the hands-on training for department members by providing live fire training within city limits. Such training allows firefighters to better address fire behavior, ventilation practices, bail-out safety procedures, search and rescue, and fire suppression. It is essential for firefighters to be able to practice the skills they need to respond to and resolve emergencies, and a mobile firefighter training simulator will provide an ideal avenue for the Department to do just that. I applaud the Albany Fire Department for their foresight and sincerely hope the application meets with your approval.
Thank you for your consideration. For additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me or my Grants Director, Marissa Emanuel, in my Washington Office at 202-224-6542.
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