EXETER, R.I. - Firefighters from four Rhode Island communities were training Monday at the newly expanded Rhode Island Fire Training Academy in Exeter.
Mark Pare, the Director of the Academy says, "Today is the first municipal fire training academy. It's a 9 week program that we instituted."
The burn building on the property has been in place since 2012, allowing firefighters from all across Rhode Island to gain practical experience fighting a simulated building fire. Now, the property has been expanded to provide the classroom experience previously done separately in each city and town.
Pare says, "The construction was completed December 31, and we ran the first class here January 3."
Jack Chartier, the State Fire Marshal for Rhode Island says, "The state did not have a facility like this, so when it came time to train, we were always scrambling for equipment, scrambling for a place to have appropriate training. They don't have to bring anything with them. We have all the equipment for them to use. We train them to national standards."
Cities save money, paying $2,500 per firefighter by sending them to this training session instead of holding the training themselves.
Chartier says, "We can do it on a much more cost effective basis than a local community might be able to do it just because of the volume of people that we run through this program."