A $50,000 grant secured by State Sen. John Bonacic (R/C/I - Mount Hope) for Mechanicstown Fire District will help the district establish a new training facility.
"We are volunteer, so the scheduling to get everybody up to state and federal requirements gets a little hectic because some people can't make proper training," said Chief of Special Operations for Mechanicstown Fire District Dominick Guardino.
"With this facility, we'll have our schedule on our time, so we can try to get everybody through on their schedule and keep up with the requirements on the state and federal level."
The new facility will be installed on the Station 2 property on Stony Ford Road in the Town of Wallkill. It's expected to cost around $350,000, but town officials say they're still waiting on bids for foundation and concrete work to open later this month for the final figure.
"To build a facility like this is a plus for us and to have help from the Senate is a great deal," said Mechanicstown Fire Commissioner Frank Guardino.
Firefighters will be able to train in residential and commercial fire suppression, run scenarios on finding suspicious packages, and prepare for other emergency events. And they hope it will improve recruitment and retention.
"I think it will keep the older guys a little more interested and definitely help us with the new recruits," said Chief Guardino.
They say it will also help them be prepared to work with other agencies during active shooter events.
"We'll be able to see what their protocols are, what our protcols are," Guardino explained. "So that in the event that something like that happens in our fire district, we'll all be on the same page of music."
Fire officials say the next step is to clear the land in preparation for the foundation work, and they expect to have the facility in place by the end of November.