County Executive Kevin Byrne announced his intention to construct a new state-of-the-art Fire Training Center in Putnam County. The new facility will replace the former center, including the tower that has not been utilized for over a decade due to its poor safety conditions, and address the critical need for enhanced training opportunities for our dedicated firefighters and other emergency services personnel.
The current fire training center has been significantly underutilized since the tower was deemed unsafe over ten years ago and the burn facility has been repeatedly closed due to ongoing costly repairs on a regular basis. 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 will provide first responders with a modern, safe, and comprehensive environment to sharpen their skills and prepare for a variety of emergency situations. While the existing Fire Training Center is not a federally or state mandated service provided by Putnam County government, it is one that is widely considered to be an essential service is treated as a high priority for County Executive Byrne and members of 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 County Executive Byrne. “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 will also enhance local volunteer fire department and other emergency agency efforts without creating duplicate costs to their budgets. This investment further represents Putnam County’s steadfast commitment to the safety and preparedness of our first responders, who selflessly protect us every day. 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."
Funding for the project will primarily come from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars which had been previously committed to Putnam County specific projects, with additional funding coming from several grant opportunities. Both United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and State Senator Peter Harckham, in consultation with County Executive Byrne, have been actively working to secure funding for this important 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 United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I was proud to help pass the American Rescue Plan to help fund projects like these, and I thank County Executive Byrne for putting this plan into motion.”
"As elected officials, our responsibility is public safety," said New York State Senator Pete Harckham. "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.I am proud to partner with County Executive Byrne and our first responders to fund the renovation of the vital fire tower, which is needed to train firefighters to combat multi-story blazes."
“The new center will enhance training opportunities and improve emergency response capabilities. It's an investment in the safety and well-being of our residents and our first responders,” said Deputy Chair of the Legislature Amy Sayegh. “I thank County Executive Byrne and all those in Bureau for putting together this plan. I look forward to reviewing this proposal later this month.”
“The new facility will empower our volunteer firefighters to train or a variety of new challenges, and I am confident we can make this vision a reality,” said Legislator Ginny Nacerino. “This facility will play a pivotal role in providing our brave firefighters with the resources they need to protect our communities effectively.”
"This new Fire Training Center will revolutionize the way we prepare our firefighters for the challenges they face on the front lines,” said Bob Lipton, Commissioner of the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. “We are incredibly grateful for the support and funding that will make this facility possible. It will serve as a hub of excellence and a testament to the dedication and cooperation of all involved."
The project is expected to go before the Protective Services Committee on August 17th and to the County Legislature for a full vote on September 5th. If approved, partial demolition could begin on the old facility; with the fire tower being torn down and part of the old facility being re-purposed for other training opportunities. Pending all necessary approvals, the new state of the art center is estimated to be completed in the Summer of 2024.