DOH Gives $300k Grant for Calif. Fire Department Training Equipment
Sept. 20—SAN BERNARDINO—County firefighters will be able to train more frequently and with upgraded equipment thanks to a newly secured $304,000 grant.
Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-San Bernardino, announced the grant from the Department of Homeland Security on Monday.
The money will be used to purchase a mobile Class B fire simulator, replacing an older stationary model at the Richard Sewell Regional Training Center in San Bernardino.
"The AFG (Assistance to Firefighters Grant) Program has afforded San Bernardino County Fire Protection District the opportunity to continue providing state-of-the-art training equipment to our firefighters, in turn providing our citizens with premier fire services," Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said in a statement. "With a service area stretching over 19,000 square miles, the mobile simulator is an invaluable training tool."
The existing simulator is more than a decade old—meaning it's missing multiple generations of improvements—and too far from fire stations that have to be kept consistently staffed, said fire department spokeswoman Tracey Martinez.
Soon, the simulator will be brought to the fire stations, allowing them to train more often.
"Sometimes people have to travel up to four hours to come to the training facility, so this will give us an opportunity to train more firefighters with it," Martinez said. "It's a state-of-the-art simulator that will provide life-saving training."
Acceptance of the grant still has to be approved by the county Board of Supervisors, then the simulator needs to be bought, so it could be six months before it's available for training, Martinez said.
The AFG program has distributed $6.7 billion in grant funding to fire departments across the country since 2001 as part of the federal government's disaster preparedness efforts, according to Aguilar. That includes $275,000 secured by the Colton Fire Department in July.
"Inland Empire first responders have proven their heroism time and time again, and San Bernardino County Fire is no exception," Aguilar said in a statement. "These federal dollars will go toward training and equipment that will keep our community even safer. By acquiring a mobile fire simulator, the San Bernardino County Fire Department can ensure that firefighters throughout our community have access to lifesaving training."