October 15, 2020

DIVISION OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY SERVICES OPENS NEW $5.5 MILLION FIELD OPERATIONS BUILDING AT STATE ACADEMY OF FIRE SCIENCE

New 20,000 Square-Foot Building to Support Firefighter Training Programs 

 Building Offers New Classrooms, Office Space and Increased Storage for Fire Trucks and Firefighting Gear

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today unveiled its new $5.5 million Field Operations Building at the New York State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls. Operated by the Division’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the state-of-the-art building will be used to support the Office’s firefighter training programs. Construction of the new building was first proposed in Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State with funding later secured in the New York State Budget.

“The Field Operations Building will enhance the training experience for the nearly 5,000 firefighters who train at the Academy each year and demonstrates our commitment to giving these firefighters the best training environment possible,” said New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy. “Our Division remains focused on providing the state’s first responders with the best training available and, thanks to those efforts, New York now has one of the nation’s strongest emergency preparedness postures.”

The new building includes two large classrooms offering comprehensive technology systems, as well as increased garage space for the Academy’s fleet of six fire trucks, a station for refilling the self-contained breathing apparatus used in classes, and a storage area for firefighter gear and training gear. The building also has turnout gear washing and maintenance areas.

“For nearly 50 years, New York’s Academy of Fire Science has provided firefighters from every corner of the state with the first-class education and training they need to keep their communities safe upon returning home,” said State Fire Administrator Francis Nerney. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Cuomo, this new 20,000 square-foot Field Operations Building will be the new home for the career recruit firefighter training program and will provide a modern environment, which will improve their overall 11-week training experience.”

Since its beginning in 1971, the Academy of Fire Science in Schuyler County has served as the academic home for New York State’s fire service. Over the years, more than 260,000 firefighters have received training at the Academy. 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.

After an initial suspension of onsite training due to the pandemic, State Fire implemented several changes to ensure an enhanced level of safety for recruit firefighters. The changes include:

  • 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.

In July, 43 recruits completed their training by following the new safety measures put in place. A second class of firefighters are currently training at the Academy and will graduate in October.

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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