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Albany Technical adds firefighter training tower

Don Laye, chairman of the Albany Technical College Fire Science Technology Program, talks about the uses the training tower will be to students at Thursdays dedication.

Don Laye, chairman of the Albany Technical College Fire Science Technology Program, talks about the uses the training tower will be to students at Thursdays dedication.

ALBANY — Training firefighters is serious business at Albany Technical College. Thursday, officials cut a ribbon to open a serious piece of training equipment.

A two-story, steel-frame firefighting training tower took its place on the edge of the east campus to a bit of fanfare and inspection.

“We have a nationally certified firefighter 1 and 2 certification program here at Albany Tech,” said Don Laye, chairman of the Fire Science Technology Program. “This training tower will give us an opportunity to further train students to go farther in their careers.”

Albany Fire Department Deputy Chief Ron Rowe, who attended the ceremony, said that there is great cooperation between the college and his department.

“Whenever anyone comes to us and says, ‘what’s it take to be a firefighter?’” Rowe said, “We tell them that Albany Technical College has the best program in the state. That’s where you need to start.”

The next class of 24 firefighters-in-training can expect to use the tower for training when the fire-science classes start next summer. Laye said that the tower provides a safe environment for students to master hose advancement, fire attack, forcible entry, search and rescue and 21 other life-safety skills needed to pass national certification.

“Training is the one and only time when instructors have complete control over the conditions and environment of which to prepare future firefighters,” Laye said. “Albany Tech instructors will utilize the training tower to incorporate numerous types of training exercises. Repetition and practice of skills will eliminate dangerous and unwanted habits and further prepare Albany Tech students become future firefighters.”