May 20, 2016
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces $500,000 For New York State Academy of Fire Science to Provide Crude Oil Fire Training For First Responders

Governor Cuomo Announces $500,000 For New York State Academy of Fire Science to Provide Crude Oil Fire Training For First Responders

Governor Cuomo today announced $500,000 in federal funding has been awarded to the New York State Academy of Fire Science in the Southern Tier. The funding, administered through FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighter’s Grant Program, will support a crude oil training simulation for first responders. This marks the third consecutive year that the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevention and Control has been awarded this funding. The Academy trains over 6,000 emergency services providers from across the state in over 130 courses per year.

“New York’s first responders selflessly risk their lives every day in order to protect their neighbors and our communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will provide our firefighters with the highest level of training and ensure they have the tools they need to tackle these very dangerous emergency situations."

DHSES Commissioner John Melville said, “The Academy of Fire Science provides unique and high-quality training to our volunteer and career firefighters so they can continue to provide essential services to every corner of New York State. This funding is key to the continuation of outstanding training at the Academy and to the first responders that serve our state.”

The residential training program provides education for a variety of academic disciplines including: Fire suppression, fire department leadership and management, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, fire and arson investigation, fire prevention and code enforcement, incident management, technical rescue and emergency response to terrorism. These programs are delivered by full-time staff, part-time State Fire Instructors and guest lecturers.

This most recent grant award will be used for a “hands-on” live fire training prop that will teach firefighters how to respond to an incident involving crude oil and other ignitable liquids. This demonstrates the state’s ongoing efforts to prepare for and respond to the challenges posed by the transportation of crude oil by rail and water across New York State.

Additionally, DHSES is currently engaged in a number of initiatives to improve planning, preparedness and response capabilities for any potential crude oil incident, including: An integrated multi-agency planning effort including local, state and federal agencies to develop Geographic Response Plans to support the initial response to a crude oil transportation incident; establishing the NYS Foam Task Force to improve the firefighting foam capacity, with an environmentally safe firefighting foam, available to respond to any incident involving crude oil or other ignitable liquids; and the continuing commitment to train and prepare the state's firefighters, emergency management agencies and other emergency response personnel.

Other actions include the deployment of the nineteen trailers equipped with an environmentally safe firefighting foam substance to local fire departments and county hazardous materials teams throughout the state and the implementation of an aggressive inspection campaign targeting crude oil tank car and rail inspections. Since 2014, the Department of Transportation and its federal partners have inspected 13,011 rail cars, including 11,003 crude oil tank cars and 4,640 miles of track, uncovered 1,668 defects and issued 20 hazardous materials violations.

DHSES continues to expand and upgrade the grounds, structures and training environment at the Fire Academy. In addition to regular maintenance, DHSES has recently invested over $450,000 to improve the structure and grounds of the century old building including lot repaving, roof replacement, the rehabilitation to teaching and storage rooms and asbestos abatement. Also included is improvement to the living and learning environments including state-of-the-art audio visual equipment, new furniture and classroom equipment and new dorm furniture.

Since 2011, the state has spent $2 million for routine maintenance and minor capital projects and an additional $1 million is committed for the rehabilitation of the fire and sprinkler system, additional asbestos abatement and masonry repairs and additional audio visual renovations including the addition of interactive signage.

Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “It is critical that we provide our local fire departments with the most up-to-date equipment they need to keep our citizens safe and do their jobs effectively. Our first responders are our local heroes and our primary line of defense – it is crucial we provide them with the resources and cutting-edge tools they need to continue their important work of saving lives.”

Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee, said, “As we work to reduce the risk of crude oil on rails in our communities, we must also be prepared to respond to an accident, which can be deadly and dangerous to safety, health and the environment. That’s why these federal funds, which I’ve worked to provide through the Congressional spending bills, are vital. Practice makes perfect, and these simulation exercises will help ensure our first responders are ready for the worst case scenario even as we work to prevent it.”

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, “Everyday oil trains barrel through the Hudson Valley, now one of the state’s busiest energy corridors. That's why rail safety is one of the most important infrastructure issues to my neighbors in the Hudson Valley. I share Governor Cuomo’s commitment to investing in training programs to ensure our first responders are prepared to prevent rail accidents, provide efficient responses and keep our communities safe from dangerous accidents.”

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