Federal grant heats up enthusiam at Del. State Fire School

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., visited the Delaware Fire School in Dover on Tuesday to announce the school will receive a $531,735 grant. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

Sen. Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., visited the Delaware Fire School in Dover on Tuesday to announce the school will receive a $531,735 grant. (Delaware State News/Arshon Howard)

DOVER — For the second consecutive year, the Delaware State Fire School in Dover will receive a $535,735 grant from the federal Assistance to Firefighters program.

The money will help the school purchase new equipment.

Last year, the school received $248,400. Robert Newman, director of the school, said they’ve been lucky to be one of the recipients of the grant for two years.

“The new pieces of equipment will be used to enhance our program,” he said. “We’ve been doing well. This is our second year in a row getting the grant.

“We’re very lucky as to what we get from our federal government agencies and we will put this to good use.”

The Delaware State Fire School provides fire, rescue, emergency medical training, and public fire safety education to firefighters and rescue workers from Delaware — and around the world.

The school will use $420,000 to purchase a new fire engine.

“We had to ask the volunteer fire companies to allow us to use their engines when we have certain classes,” Mr. Newman said. “We’ve made mock ones that don’t fully simulate.

“This will allow us to not put a burden on the fire companies. With this, the engine will always be here.  We’ve been asking for an engine from the fire department for the last 20 years.”

The federal initiative by Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), co-chairman of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Rep. John Carney (D-Del.) is designed to strengthen the nation’s overall level of preparedness and ability to respond to fire and related hazards.

“As the training demands have gotten greater, the EMTs and firefighters have been asked to take on more to reach higher and higher standards of training,” Sen. Coons said. “We need the fire school to be stronger. I’m thrilled that the assistance firefighter grant for a second year in a row provided critically needed equipment for this vital training resource for our whole state.”

Sen. Carper agreed.

“It’s a lot hard to run a fire department then it was 100 years ago,” he said. “So much more can go wrong and we need to bring our ‘A’ game everyday. One way to do that is to make sure we have some of the best training.”

The school will also spend $111,735 on a car fire training prop and EMS manikins.

“The car training prop will teach them how to deal with car fires,” Mr. Newman said. “It will allow us to train the students on how to take a blood pressure or hear lung sounds. We simulate it, but this gives the students a chance to have a better experience.”

Joan Masall, 17, who is a probation volunteer, agreed.

“We will have everything we need here,” Ms. Masall said. “Everything will be different and better for us now. I think it will better prepare us when it’s really time for us to get out there.”

Arshon Howard is a freelance writer living in Dover. E-mail comments to newsroom@newszap.com.

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