July 06, 2020

New York State Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services Announces 44 Firefighters Resume Training at State Academy of Fire Science

44 Recruit Firefighters from 26 Individual Fire Departments to Complete 11-Week Training Course

New COVID-19 Safety Protocols Implemented at the State Academy of Fire Sciences

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced 44 firefighters from 26 fire departments across the state have returned to the State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls to complete their 11-week rigorous training program to achieve national certification. Upon successful completion of the program, these first responders will begin their work as career firefighters in their respective fire departments. This course is the first training being offered by the Division’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control since all training activities were suspended at the Academy at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic. In order to ensure recruits are protected throughout the 11 weeks, the Division has implemented a number of health and safety measures. This current class is expected to graduate in late July.

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, "As we continue to grapple with the new realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical we do not lose sight of our work to ensure New York is protected from other threats like flooding or house fires. Thanks to the work of State Fire Officials, we have implemented comprehensive protocols to ensure these recruits are able to complete their training safely, so they can get right to work keeping their communities safe.” 

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control’s Recruit Firefighter Training Program provides basic training for both volunteer and recently hired career firefighters. During the 11-week program, recruits participate in more than 500 hours of training in both classroom and practical settings. Classes focus on areas such as emergency vehicle and pump operations, flammable gas firefighting, basic rescue technician skills and foundational firefighting training and operations. Recruits also participate in daily physical fitness training in preparation for the Candidate Physical Ability Test. Upon completion, graduates will have received national certification from the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications in Firefighter I, Firefighter II and Hazardous Materials Operations.

Upon the Division’s initial suspension of in-person training, recruits worked to complete the classroom-based portions of the curriculum remotely through on-line training presented by OFPC at their home department, with oversight from their department’s training officer. With classroom work now complete, State Fire officials have worked to implement comprehensive health and safety measures to protect recruits as they complete the physical portion of the course. As part of this effort, recruits will now be required to complete the same screening process which has been implemented at state-owned facilities across the state. Specifically, recruits will have their temperature taken and be asked a series of questions to identify their potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. This will occur each week as recruits enter the academy, and then twice daily as they are on site.

A number of changes have also been implemented at the Academy itself to ensure an enhanced level of safety. This includes:

  • A significantly reduced number of course offerings to reduce occupancy;
  • The implementation of a single-room occupancy model in the dormitory to reduce density;
  • The installation of new physical barriers in the business and cafeteria areas of the Academy to support social distancing;
  • Modified food service to stagger cafeteria schedules, as well as replace buffet style service with individual meals being handed to each student by a single worker to support social distancing;
  • Modified classroom seating to incorporate social distancing;
  • Requiring all Academy occupants to wear facemasks whenever the potential for less than 6 feet of separation could occur;
  • The installation of additional hand sanitizing stations in all common areas; and
  • Ensuring housekeeping staff have the appropriate PPE and sanitizing supplies to ensure all common areas and touch points are cleaned and sanitized per Department of Health guidelines.

State Fire Administrator Francis Nerney said, "New York’s Recruit Firefighter Training Program is one of the nation’s few residential training programs which provides critical training in an environment mirroring a full-time fire department. Training the next generation of firefighters is one of our most important functions as an office and we have worked hard to create a training environment which is not only safe, but ensures every recruit completes the necessary coursework.”

The current class of 44 firefighters attending the program represents the following fire departments: 

  • Albany Airport Fire Department
  • Auburn Fire Department
  • Beacon Fire Department
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport
  • Cortland Fire Department
  • DeWitt Fire Department
  • Fairview Fire Department
  • Glens Falls Fire Department
  • Gloversville Fire Department
  • Herkimer Fire Department
  • Hornell Fire Department
  • Ilion Fire Department
  • Ithaca Fire Department
  • Ithaca Airport
  • Jamestown Fire Department
  • Johnstown Fire Department
  • Lockport Fire Department
  • Manlius Fire Department
  • Medina Fire Department
  • Niagara Falls Fire Department
  • North Tonawanda Fire Department
  • Oneonta Fire Department
  • Oswego Fire Department
  • Plattsburgh Fire Department
  • Pleasant Valley Fire Department
  • Tonawanda Fire Department

Operated by the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the Academy offers courses in many areas including hazardous materials, arson investigation and general fire service training. The general fire service training areas include fire suppression, technical rescue, fire equipment maintenance, incident command, fire instructor development, fire officer development, firefighter health and safety, dispatcher training, emergency medical technician (EMT), EMT refresher, and EMT pilot core material training.

About the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control delivers a wide breadth of services to firefighters, emergency responders, state and local government agencies, public and private colleges, and the citizens of New York. The office advances public safety through firefighter training, education, fire prevention, investigative, special operations and technical rescue programs. The delivery of these essential services enables the office to make significant contributions to the safety of all of New York State.

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or Instagram, or visit dhses.ny.gov.

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