Governor Eric Holcomb will be in Plymouth on August 25th to announce new training opportunities for firefighters.  The announcement will be at the Wayne A. Smith Training Facility located behind the Marshall County Jail.   

A kickoff press conference regarding this major enhancement project impacting firefighter training in Indiana.  Other attendees will represent local fire agencies, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the State Fire Marshal’s office, the Professional Firefighters Union of Indiana, the Indiana Volunteer Firefighters Association, and the Indiana Fire Chiefs Association. 

Legislation in 2015 established the Indiana Fire and Public Safety Academy system to meet the training needs of career and volunteer firefighters across the state. Many urban communities have their own training facilities, and the Academy hosts regular training to help fill the gaps to reach firefighters across Indiana. Last year, the Academy trained nearly 2,300 people through a full curriculum of fire and hazmat training offerings. Still, many rural communities, mostly staffed by volunteers, find it difficult to travel to training sites. Additionally, the level of training may vary at sites not operated by the Academy.

To help address this shortfall, the Indiana General Assembly in 2023 approved more than $7 million to construct basic, physical firefighter training locations in areas of Indiana where firefighters must drive more than 30 miles to receive quality training. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security leads this effort and is now evaluating the best locations in designated areas to fill this need.

The Hub-and-Spoke Firefighter Training plan would bring training closer for firefighters across the state while also adding consistency and quality control to basic firefighter training in Indiana.

These new training sites would be locally owned and maintained, and the state would support the construction of tower and burn facilities to allow for all hands-on firefighter training associated with the Firefighter I and Firefighter II required training. To be considered for one of these training locations, local communities must, at a minimum:

*Be located in an identified area of need

*Own property with the infrastructure to allow for live burn training, such as utilities and access to fire department apparatus

*Open the site to regional fire departments for training

Additional considerations for site selection:

*Support from local officials

*Greatest impact on total population and fire departments within a 30-mile radius

All sites would be outfitted with equipment packages that include structures and props to allow firefighters to experience live fire behavior at industry-standard levels.

Additional investments include $10 million in critical personal protective equipment (PPE) for volunteer fire departments and additional mobile training equipment for statewide use.