AFD cuts ribbon for new facility

Photo by Carly Farrell

Photo by Carly Farrell

ALBANY, Ga. -- Public safety officials for both Dougherty County and the city of Albany officially opened the newest component of an Albany Fire Department Training complex Tuesday.

The new building provides classroom space and training offices with emergency backup locations for both 911 operations and the county's emergency operations center, Chief James Carswell said Tuesday.

"Since the flood (of 1994), we've realized the need for a way to have redundancies in communications and management in the event of a major catastrophe," Carswell said. "To a degree, this building will provide that for us and give our training programs a home."

The facility will join a large burn tower and a pond for use in training for water rescues at the site which is off Honeysuckle Drive in East Albany. The department will also move much of its training resources that are currently being housed in the downtown fire station to the training site.

Built with special-purpose local-option sales tax revenues, Carswell said officials were able to trim a significant amount off the total of the price tag by using in-kind services from Dougherty County Public Works and the Albany Water, Gas & Light Commission.

Touted as a multi-use facility, Deputy Chief Ron Rowe said other public safety agencies will be able to use the facility for their own training needs.

Albany Technical College will also be able to use the site for its fire sciences course. Albany Tech has partnered with AFD to provide Albany firefighters with higher education opportunities.

The 26-acre training complex so far has only used 10 acres to build the two buildings and pond.