Department of Fire Services Receives $426,087 in Federal Grant
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced that the Department of Fire Services (DFS) has been awarded $426,087 from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) FY 2016 Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) program. The funds will be used to purchase two critical training props for the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA): a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) mobile maze trailer and a portable simulated burn prop. These training props will be used at both the Stow and Springfield campuses and transported to local fire departments.
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said “The Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA) constantly strives to improve firefighter skills through training to the highest possible level. Ensuring the Commonwealth’s firefighter skills through constant training opportunities such as these two new props will pay off in the real world by possibly making a difference between a life or death situation.”
The self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) mobile maze trailer will be used as a basic, advanced, and maintenance tool available to all firefighters in the Commonwealth. They can practice using SCBA while working in and navigating through limited and restricted areas. The trailer is a self-contained maze that allows students to move through tubes, to ascend and descend through ceiling and floor hatches, to navigate low profile openings, while wearing their SCBA.
The portable simulated burn prop trains firefighters to recognize when a room or other burning structure is about to completely combust. It gives them the opportunity to observe fire behavior, see warning signs of potential danger, and use various techniques that may save someone’s life. A high percentage of firefighters who die in a fire, die from these fast changing conditions. The training is designed for the firefighter to be able to see these warning signs and to get out before the situation worsens.
The grant will also fund a tow vehicle to transport the new mobile training props throughout the state to local fire departments.
The goal of DHS’ AFG program is to protect the health and safety of the public and firefighting personnel against fire and fire related hazards. This is the fourth year in a row in which the AFG program opened up to fire academies in the United States. Prior to that, only local fire departments were eligible to apply. DFS has successfully received an award all four years, totaling over 1.1 million dollars in federal funding.