Dunkirk Fire Department lands grant for mobile burn unit

The city of Dunkirk will receive a mobile burn unit that will allow the fire department and the county’s 42 other departments to conduct live-fire training. The award, an Assistance to Firefighters Grant, was announced by Ms. Dale McShine, director of grants for Region II of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which administers the grant program.

With the local share of $40,000, the grant will total $400,000.

“This simulator adds a safe, live-burn dimension to our training capacity,” said Lt. James Hyland, Dunkirk Fire Department’s deputy chief. “Our training building had become so deteriorated that it had to be torn down several years ago. Now, among a host of other training options, we can simulate the work of our rapid intervention teams, for example, which stand by to rescue firefighters who may become trapped or overcome while on the job.”

Lt. Hyland added that the equipment will enable firefighters to practice ventilation training to clear smoke and noxious elements, a critical capability during a fire.

The fire department’s Lt. Matthew Hanlon described the mobile burn simulator as a “huge asset,” not only to Dunkirk’s firefighting capabilities, but also to Chautauqua County’s other fire departments and roughly 134,000 residents.

“The unit can be easily transported and we’re grateful to the county’s Department of Public Works, which has agreed to move the new equipment to county fire departments, allowing them to augment their capabilities, as well,” he added.

FEMA’s AFG program has been aiding firefighters and other first responders since 2001. “The program provides critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training, and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards,” said Tania Hedlund, FEMA’s grants branch chief. In 2012, the AFG provided funding of $25,340,000 for FEMA’s Region II (New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands).