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Fire Training Center Close To Winter Shut-Down

OSWEGO COUNTY, NY – The Oswego County fire training school is up and running, helping firefighters prepare for the experiences they will meet in the field.

The county took ownership of the facility this past summer. Oswego County Fire Coordinator John Hinds provided an update on the facility during Monday‘s meeting of the county‘s Public Safety and Emergency Services committee.

Hinds explained that the county is preparing for the winter shut down and looking forward to the spring, when it will resume its efforts to work out the bugs at the facility and welcome new groups of students.

“The tower is functional,” Hinds explained. “But some of the props are not functioning. We’ve been talking with our service people and have decided to wait until spring.”

Hinds said that the fire school has two more nights of training before it will shut down for the winter. Recently, the school graduated its first class of new firefighters.

“We graduated 23 firefighters from across the county,” he said. The class represents 84 hours of training, Hinds noted.

Legislator Margaret Kastler, R-Sandy Creek, asked Hinds if 23 students was a large class or the average.

“It is usually 20,” Hinds said. He pointed out, however, that the state raised the number of students allowed in a class last month from a maximum of 20 students to a maximum of 24.

“Twenty-three is the biggest class we’ve ever graduated,” he said.

Legislator Morris Sorbello, R-Granby, asked Hinds if the nuclear plants have made the decision to switch their training activities to the county facility. Currently, one of the plants uses the burn tower in Cicero. The other is using training facilities in Monroe County.

“I’ve had meetings with both of them,” Hinds said. “Their concern is if the center is going to be ready. … They are watching us to make sure our props will be up and ready.”

Hinds explained that his office is waiting to hear the results of an engineering study of the burn tower.

“The tower is useable but it does need some work,” he said.

Sorbello asked how the department’s projected revenues will be affected if the plants do not make the switch.

“We’ve budgeted $65,000 in revenues next year,” Hinds said. “We’re going to be close. It is impossible at this point to say, ‘This is how it is going to work out.’ But we’ve seen a lot of interest from inside and outside the county.”

That is a positive sign, he said.

“The more revenue we generate, the more it keeps the costs (of the center) down for the county,” Hinds said.