ILLINOIS — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded more than $400,000 to the UI’s Fire Training Academy.
The $410,397 will pay for “critically needed resources to protect the public, to train emergency personnel, and to foster interoperability and support community resilience,” according to a press release from Senator Dick Durbin’s (D) office.
The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is administered by the DHS’ Federal Emergency Management Agency, in cooperation with the U.S. Fire Administration.
Since 2001, AFG has provided more than $6.7 billion in grants to first-responder organizations.
As with anything, practice makes perfect. The same motto that’s being followed at the Illinois Fire Service Institute.
“Our statutory requirement is to train both public and private firefighters in the full spectrum of skills whether that be basic skills fire fighting or technical rescue.”
The institute prides itself on the training they provide. And Director Royal Mortenson wants to extend their reach.
“The goal of this grant request was to expand our delivery across the state.”
A federal grant will let them do that. They plan to buy some new mobile equipment. Things like an air compressor and and a fire simulation trainer.
“All with the purpose of taking training on the road to meet the needs of volunteer departments across the state that can’t or don’t have the resources to come here and take advantage of the training we have on site.”
Simon Childerson is one of the thirty three cadets in this spring’s graduating class.
“Get our hands on the tools, get our hands on hose lines, truck placement all right here.”
He says his ready to get out on the job. And he feels he’s taking away more than just the basics.
“A lot of the instruction here especially staff is very knowledgeable and the facility itself is one of the better if not the best in the state.”