The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) has received a grant of $486,390 from the Assistance to Firefighters (AFG) Grant. The AFG is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The grant, expanded in 2014 to include state fire academies, was created in 2001 to provide fire departments and non-affiliated emergency medical service organizations funds to acquire equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, and other resources.
IFSI will use the funds to support the expansion of the educational programs as well as protective equipment used by instructional staff in its training programs.
According to Royal Mortenson, Director for IFSI, “With the grant, we will purchase a dual station Fire Apparatus Driving Simulator which will improve firefighter safety and basic firefighting operation. The driving simulators will be used to train new apparatus drivers on basic vehicle handling, vehicle maneuvering, and also be used to help experienced drivers exercise their defensive driving skills."
Mortenson continued, "This type of training is not feasible on public roadways. Students will be able to operate a variety of apparatus in real-life driving scenarios thereby providing experiences they would otherwise only have on the road in real emergencies.”
IFSI will also be able to purchase additional protective clothing utilized by instructors across the state to provide hands-on firefighter training. IFSI prides itself on the quality and realism of its hands-on training provided to students throughout the state of Illinois.
The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the statutory State Fire Academy for Illinois. In addition to training provided at its Champaign campus, the Institute offers one-day hands-on classes for fire departments at Regional Training Centers and local fire stations across the State. The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research.