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New Firefighter Training Structure Funded With Federal Grant

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WAMC
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   A new structure to train firefighters from throughout western Massachusetts to save lives has been erected at the Department of Fire Services’ Springfield academy.

  The two-story building, referred to as a training prop, allows firefighters to practice searching for and rescuing people in a fire.  It was practice that used to take place at another facility on the campus that is used primarily for live fire training, according to State Fire Marshall Peter Ostroskey.

  "This gives us more flexibility and will insure consistency in recruit training and training for all fire service personnel who use this prop," said Ostroskey.

  The prop is designed to present firefighters with different scenarios to learn how to drag hose lines and search for victims in heavy smoke or even zero visibility conditions.

  "They have to be able to move efficently through different layouts and find there way out in the event of an emergency," explained Ostroskey.

  Ostroskey said the structure increases the flexibility of the training schedule at the academy for both career and volunteer firefighter recruits.

  "It is critical they operate the way they are going to on the fire ground," said Ostroskey.

   The new training prop was paid for with $435,000 from the federal Assistance to Firefighters Grant program.

  Democratic U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts said the impetus for the program was a tragedy that happened 20 years ago next month in Worcester.  Six firefighters died when they could not find their way out of a burning warehouse.

  " The investment that came of it I think is important to remind all of us of the role firefighters play everyday in our lives and the security and sense of confidence they give to all of us," said Neal.

   Since 2013, the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy has received a total of $2.4 million in grants from the federal program.

   Other props funded by the program include one for flashover training and forcible entry training.

  Fire chiefs from throughout western and central Massachusetts came to the academy Tuesday for the dedication of the new training structure.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.
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