RANDOLPH, Vt., October 5 – Participating in a groundbreaking ceremony for a new firefighter training building at Vermont Technical College, Sen. Bernie Sanders called the facility a major step forward in assuring high-quality training for firefighters across the state.
Sanders secured $406,962 for the project, which includes a specialized structure called a live-burn building. In a successful federal, state, and local partnership, the State of Vermont committed $440,000 to the project and the college provided $50,000 for the facility. The total price tag is $897,000.
“The new training facility will give firefighters the opportunity to learn scenarios they will likely see when responding to live emergency situations,” Sanders said. “It will be centrally located and will greatly enhance the quality of training while reducing travel time and expenses incurred by many firefighters, especially volunteers.”
The new burn simulator will be an asset to the Fire Science Degree Program at Vermont Tech that already has enrolled nearly 30 students. “Firefighters always want to hone their skills, and new fire fighters need specialized training to learn their critical trade,” Sanders said.
Sanders saluted Vermont’s 5,600 volunteer firefighters 300 career firefighters. “Both are critical, and both need and deserve more help, with training and education being a key need. We owe them all a very deep debt of gratitude as they make personal and financial sacrifices to keep our communities safe.”
Matthew Vinci, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Vermont, said, “This much-needed training facility is largely due to the coordination and support at the local, state and federal level. The fire service across Vermont is very grateful for the efforts of Senator Sanders, Governor Douglas and the Vermont Legislature for their combined efforts to bring this Fire Burn Training Building to reality. Vermont’s Fire Fighters will be better prepared to respond to our neighbors’ emergencies due to the training that we will receive at this facility.”
Ty Handy, president of Vermont Technical College, said, “We’re excited about the opportunities and synergies this will create between Vermont Tech’s associate’s degree program in Fire Science and the excellent training programs offered by the Vermont Fire Academy. Our students will benefit; Vermont’s firefighters will benefit; and our local communities will benefit. This is a real win for everyone involved and we appreciate all the hard work that’s gone in to making it possible.”
Also participating in the groundbreaking ceremony were Vermont Governor Jim Douglas; State Senator Phil Scott (R-Washington); State Representative Alice Emmons (D-Springfield); Steve Revell of the Vermont Fire and EMS Coalition; Jim Litevich, chief of the Vermont Fire Academy; and Gary Moore, chairman of the board of trustees for the Vermont State Colleges.