Soldiers train endlessly because in a stressful and dangerous situation, the training takes over. There’s no time to think it out. The same goes for firefighters, which is why the Saugerties Emergency Services Association is hoping to build a 40-foot training tower capable of replicating the conditions inside a burning building.
At their Dec. 2 meeting, Village Board trustees agreed to begin the process of donating a piece of village-owned land on North St. for the construction.
Next up, the money. Village Trustee and Saugerties Emergency Services Association President Brian Martin said the association will seek grant money as well as monetary donations and donations of in-kind services such as excavating and masonry work.
When asked about trustees possibly making a monetary donation to the association to assist with the project, Mayor William Murphy said, “I told them they would need to raise as much money via donations and grants.”
The association hopes to break ground in late summer or early fall so construction can be completed before next winter.
The concrete block tower would have rooms where fires could be set under controlled conditions. Firefighters could safely train so that when faced with similar conditions on a call, even less experienced vols would know what to do.
Firefighters would also be able to practice running up stairs wearing 40 pounds of protective gear, hauling heavy fire hoses, carrying victims down several flights of stairs in the smoke and heat and rappelling out the building using ropes if the stairs are clogged with debris or flames.
“This was the vision of former firefighter and president of the association, Ernie Dunn,” said Martin. Dunn died last July. “A tower like Ernie wanted would allow all agencies to train together and separately.”
“And it would allow us to bring in other agencies from outside Saugerties to use the facility to train as well,” said Saugerties Fire Chief Dave Mason.
“We’d have access to unlimited training right in our own backyard,” Mason added.
“We have everything we need right at the North St. site,” said Martin, who is also past chief of the village department. “We have access to water, there is enough property, and it’s centrally located for all five Saugerties fire departments.”
Want to help? Contact Martin at (845) 399-0065.