Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act are helping some firefighters in Central New York better prepare for the different and sometimes dangerous circumstances they encounter while responding to various interior and exterior fires.

A new state-of-the-art Fire Training Tower in Syracuse can help save lives.

Fire Chief Michael Monds has been fighting fires for more than 20 years.

What You Need To Know

  • American Rescue Plan Act funds have approved for a new fire training tower in Syracuse

  • It simulates fires in high rise and mid-rise buildings

  • 26 recruit firefighters were also sworn in on Tuesday

“The very first time that you can put your skills to work, that you really think that you saved somebody's life, or made their day better; or they weren't breathing properly and you gave them oxygen; or if you had to do CPR on somebody and you resuscitate after them and they came back to life; or you go to a fire and you rescued somebody and you can have a reunion with them. There is no other feeling greater than that in the world," Monds said.

Serving as a firefighter is obviously risky, and Monds said modern synthetic materials are causing properties to burn faster than decades ago. That’s why there’s a lot of excitement surrounding a new Fire Training Tower in Syracuse, one that simulates fires in high-rise and mid-rise buildings, where every second counts.

“Before this training tower, if there was a fire on the fifth floor or the fourth floor of a building, the third floor of a building, we had no way to practice for that. Now, we're going to be able to give our firefighters the real-life simulation of a fire so they can practice and practice and practice," said Monds.

Retired Syracuse Fire Chief Fred Plumpton said firefighting equipment and training has come a long way.

“In 1971, the attack lines were inch-and-a-half lines in diameter," he said. "Supply lines were two and a half inches in diameter. We had thousand-gallons-a-minute pumpers.”

Plumpton said now there are bigger and better apparatus, pumpers working 2,000 gallons a minute and much safer and efficient equipment. And now, a new tower for training.

“You can never be prepared for every situation that occurs, but having the ability to try to do that is the win here," Monds said.

Twenty-six recruit firefighters were sworn in on Tuesday. They’ll be the first Syracuse Fire Department recruitment class to be trained with the certification of a New York state emergency medical technician.