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Byrne Debuts Plans for New Fire Training Center

Advocates show off plans for a new Putnam County fire training center while gathered in front of the old facility.

Putnam County Executive Kevin Byrne’s administration is proposing to construct a new state-of-the-art fire training center, replacing the current structure – including the tower that has not been utilized for more than a decade due to its poor safety conditions – and addressing a need for enhanced training opportunities for firefighters and other emergency services personnel.

The matter will need to be approved by the County Legislature.

The current fire training center has been significantly underutilized since the tower was deemed unsafe more than 10 years ago, and the burn facility has been repeatedly closed due to ongoing costly repairs on a regular basis, according to Byrne. The restricted use of the current facility forces many local fire departments to travel to neighboring counties for essential training, including as far as Valhalla, creating an additional strain on recruitment and retention efforts within the volunteer emergency services community.

The new fire training center would hopefully provide first responders with a modern, safe and comprehensive environment to sharpen their skills and prepare for a variety of emergency situations, said Byrne. While the existing center is not a federally- or state-mandated service provided by county government, he said it is one that is widely considered to be an essential service and is treated as a high priority for his administration.

“This facility will play a pivotal role in providing our brave firefighters and other emergency first responders with the resources they need to train and protect our communities effectively,” said Byrne, R-Mahopac. “It highlights yet another example of how county government has taken a lead role in implementing a shared service, which will not only bolster the capabilities of our county agencies and specialized response teams, but also enhance local volunteer fire department and other emergency agency efforts without creating duplicate costs to their budgets.”

He said this investment further represents the county’s commitment to the safety and preparedness of its first responders. “With this new facility, we will equip them with the tools and training they need to respond effectively to emergencies and safeguard the lives and properties of our residents,” said Byrne.

Funding for the project would primarily come from American Rescue Plan Act dollars, which had been previously committed to county-specific projects, with additional funding coming from several grant opportunities. Both U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-Hudson, and State Sen. Pete Harckham, D-Peekskill, in consultation with Byrne, have been actively working to secure funding for this project.

“With the construction of a new state-of-the-art fire training center in Putnam County, firefighters and first responders will have the crucial resources needed to train and protect the residents of Putnam County,” said Gillibrand.

Harckham noted that, as elected officials, their responsibility is public safety. “The renovation of the firefighter and EMS training center is essential to ensure that our first responders have the resources they need to save lives during an emergency and continue to keep our communities safe,” he said.

Bureau of Emergency Services Commissioner Bob Lipton said a new fire training center would revolutionize the way firefighters prepare for the challenges they face on the front lines. “We are incredibly grateful for the support and funding that will make this facility possible,” he said. “It will serve as a hub of excellence and a testament to the dedication and cooperation of all involved.”

“The new center will enhance training opportunities and improve emergency response capabilities,” added Deputy Chairwoman of the Putnam County Legislature Amy Sayegh, R-Mahopac Falls. “It’s an investment in the safety and well-being of our residents and our first responders… I look forward to reviewing this proposal later this month.”

Legislator Ginny Nacerino, R-Patterson, said the new facility will empower volunteer firefighters to train for a variety of new challenges. “I am confident we can make this vision a reality,” she said. “This facility will play a pivotal role in providing our brave firefighters with the resources they need to protect our communities effectively.”

The project is expected to be discussed by the county’s Protective Services Committee on Aug. 17, and go to the full Legislature for a full vote Sept. 5.


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