Fire!

"Firefighting is not an easy job and all of us want to see firefighters get the best possible training they can get," Senator Bernie Sanders said at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, where he announced that he had secured $406,000 for a "live-burn" training facility. "This facility will be a great resource for firefighters throughout the state," Sanders said. Vermont Tech President Ty Handy said, "The construction of a state-of-the-art live-burn building in a central location will f

"Firefighting is not an easy job and all of us want to see firefighters get the best possible training they can get," Senator Bernie Sanders said at Vermont Technical College in Randolph Center, where he announced that he had secured $406,000 for a "live-burn" training facility. "This facility will be a great resource for firefighters throughout the state," Sanders said. Vermont Tech President Ty Handy said, "The construction of a state-of-the-art live-burn building in a central location will facilitate the training of firefighters in many typical live-burn scenarios. We're very excited about the opportunities and synergies this will create between Vermont Technical College's new associate's degree program in Fire Science and the excellent training programs offered by the Vermont Fire Academy."

The $406,000 approved by Congress will cover most but not all of the expenses for the building, Sanders noted. "While the fire service program at Vermont Tech and this new building will be great assets for the Vermont firefighting community, it is clear to me that much more needs to be done to keep our fire fighting capabilities in Vermont strong and viable. In those cities and towns that have professional fire departments, we need to make sure that these communities have the kind of budgets they need to support their departments. In those towns that support the 94 percent of Vermont firefighters who are volunteers, we need to help them address the very serious problems of retention and recruitment. The simple truth is that in today's world, volunteer departments all over Vermont and America are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the kind of volunteer membership they need.

"My office is now working with the state's fire fighting community to develop federal legislation that would help local departments across the country recruit and retain the fire fighting personnel they need."

Sanders also used the occasion to thank Vermont firefighting community -- which includes 300 professional fire fighters and 5,600 volunteers -- for all that they do for the people of our state.

"These brave men and women put their lives on the line every day. They save life and property. They protect us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. We're grateful for all that they do."