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News Release    

June 16, 2003

Steinhaus Forwards Bond to Legislature for New Fire Training Facility

Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus today forwarded a $575,000 bond to the Dutchess County Legislature for a new “live” fire training facility to meet today's fire training needs for our local career and volunteer firefighters.

The current facility at the County’s Fire Training Facility on Creek Road in Hyde Park is a 30 year old two story concrete structure used to train career and volunteer firefighters under actual “live” fire conditions. In the spring of 2002, the current two-story burn building, displayed signs of structural problems. Emergency Response Coordinator, Dewitt Sagendorph said, “the walls of the facility had deteriorated exposing the underlying steel structure to repetitive burning. The first floor was considered to be unsafe rendering the facility unusable for firefighters to practice fighting live fires.”

Michael M. Macak, President of the Dutchess County Fire Chiefs Council said, “the partial closing of the current burn building has impacted every department who has used the building since the first floor had to be closed.

Steinhaus said, “In 2002, my administration hired LeBoeuf and Associates to complete a structural survey and evaluation. LeBoeuf offered three proposals to repair the structure with various types of steel infrastructure and fire resistant panels ranging from $236,000 to $326,000.”

County Executive Steinhaus noted, “The current building is very limited in the type of actual fire conditions that could be recreated for training. It just did not make sense to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair this building when we could use those funds towards building a more versatile facility that will provide a real training challenge for the many volunteers in our community that are put in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of our residents.” Emergency Response Coordinator Sagendorph said, “I agree with County Executive Steinhaus that it is more cost effective to build a new building than repair the old building. Thanks to the leadership of Dutchess County Executive Steinhaus, we can increase the county’s ability to provide better, more realistic facilities to train our career and volunteer firefighters for dangerous conditions while at the same time saving tax dollars doing it.” The County’s adopted 2003 Capital Improvement Program includes a planned project in 2004 to construct an advanced fire training burn building. That project would be expedited and completed in 2004 under the Steinhaus proposal eliminating the need to repair the current building.

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Sagendorph added, “The old building if repaired to burn would be limited in the type of burn and set up for the firefighter. This building has two open rooms approx. 18' x 18' and a fire is built in an area of a room. It doesn't take too many turns to know the room is square and the fire can be found with ease. This is fine for the beginning firefighter but for the experienced firefighter this offers little challenge. The current building was designed over 30 years ago when many fires were fought in a defensive mode from outside the structure. This is just the opposite today with interior training required.”

The new building will facilitate both offensive and defensive training. Plans are developed for four burn rooms located at different levels in this multi-story structure allowing for more realistic situations that firefighters encounter today in single and multiple residential structures. A roof simulator for ventilation exercises where the roof must be physically cut with a power saw will be included. The roof is also on a slant or pitch simulating an actual roof. Chief Macak added, “The new burn building will enable fire departments to burn in multiple rooms and on multiple floors, at the same time, which will assist area firefighters with training that is needed to meet the fire service's everyday challenges. On behalf of the fire departments in Dutchess County, I would like to thank County Executive William Steinhaus for moving ahead with this project. This sends a message to all fire service personnel that they are important in the eyes of county government.”

Sagendorph added, “by doing some minor demolition and repair work the existing building can be converted to a Mask Confidence / Maze building. No fire will be used but firefighters can train on rescues of trapped people using no smoke at all or synthetic smoke. This "cold" type training allows the firefighter a controlled environment to build their confidence wearing a self contained breathing apparatus and making rescues in an environment that is totally "black" as a live fire would be.” Steinhaus added, “Setting up the old building for cold type training at virtually no cost will increase our ability to not only train firefighters, but police and EMS as well.”


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