PLYMOUTH, Ind. Governor Eric J. Holcomb was joined by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) and firefighting leaders from across Indiana on Friday to announce the first phase of a large-scale plan to expand physical firefighting training for Hoosiers. Gov. Holcomb prioritized more training site funding as part of his 2023 Next Level Agenda.
“Indiana will always support its public safety personnel, who selflessly risk their lives to protect the communities in which they live,” Gov. Holcomb said. “This plan will ensure that Hoosier firefighters have the skills and the equipment necessary to do their job safely and effectively.”
The first phase of this Hub-and-Spoke training model will include four new physical training locations to be built in Corydon, Linton, Rensselaer and Wabash. These new sites are expected to be completed and ready for use in the first quarter of 2024. In total, the state will be investing $7.7M in new training sites like the four sites announced today. The goal with these funds is to provide high-quality, physical training structures within 30 miles or 45 minutes of all career and volunteer departments. The new sites will join more than a dozen sites already utilized for state firefighter training.
“When you look at the gaps we have in fire training, it’s primarily in rural areas,” said Steve Jones, Indiana State Fire Marshal. “Volunteers do not have the flexibility to travel for hours to attend trainings. We selected these first sites to address some of these ‘training deserts,’ and there was significant local buy-in for the need for these sites.”
The updated training model includes a live burn training structure on the sites by IDHS, home to the Indiana State Fire Marshal. The sites will be locally owned and maintained, although the state will construct the training facility and help with site preparation where necessary. Any fire department interested in more information and expressing interest in setting up a new training site should click here.
In addition to the $7.7M provided by the General Assembly in the most recent two-year budget, IDHS was also granted an additional $10M to provide new personal protective equipment (PPE) for volunteer firefighters across the state. Of the nearly 870 fire departments across the state, over 600 of these are volunteer fire departments. The goal with these funds is to fully outfit close to 900 volunteer firefighters with essential sets of PPE Volunteer departments often operate with outdated equipment and little funding to replace it as needed.
Volunteer fire departments interested in acquiring new PPE through this program should sign up here. Following the award of a bid, IDHS will reach back out to those expressing interest to determine specific needs, eligibility and make final awards.