EdWatch: Del. Fire School gets $235K for new training suits

By Amy Cherry 12:34pm, August 6, 2014
A look at the gear used by the Delaware State Fire School. (Photo courtesy of the Delaware State Fire School)
The Delaware State Fire School gets a life-saving federal grant.

WDEL's Amy Cherry has more in this week's WDEL Delaware EducationWatch.

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Instructors at the fire school are given a coat and helmet to protect themselves in live fire training demonstrations. The rest of their body was often covered in used, leftover great from their volunteer fire companies.

"It's not really compliant as far as safety standards go."

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But training administrator Tucker Dempsey says the school has gotten a nearly $235,000 federal grant to buy new, high-tech suits, but not the kind you'd wear to a wedding.

"And it's made out of a fire-resistant material, of course, it can burn eventually, but it withstands a lot of heat--that's the outer shell. The inner lining has a lot of really advanced fabrics that wick away the moisture that's supposed to keep you cooler because it's a very heavy coat," said Dempsey.

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The suits come with pants made of the same material and thick, heavy-duty gloves.

Dempsey says the suits are necessary for controlled burns--which he says are the most dangerous part of training at the fire school.

"50 instructors are going to be able to get a full set of gear. They won't be cast off gear that they use now, and this is just going to make them safer during live fire training," Dempsey said.

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In addition to the suits, the grant will pay for a computer simulation program that reinforces how firefighters will attack a fire and when to vacate when a fire gets too dangerous.

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