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FEMA grant will enhance training in emergency vehicle driving

5/12/2010 12:00 AM

A new grant from FEMA will allow TEEX to offer mobile training in emergency vehicle operations to hundreds of Texas firefighters each year. The $284,575 FEMA Fire Prevention & Safety grant will allow TEEX's Emergency Services Training Institute (ESTI) to purchase a mobile emergency vehicle driving simulator to provide driver safety training across the state. The mobile unit will be used in TEEX's existing Fire Extension Training Program, which is a state-funded program that provides vital firefighter training to every corner of Texas.

"This mobile system allows TEEX to reach underserved areas and enhances the preparedness and safety of all Texas firefighters, many of whom would not otherwise have access to training due to lack of funds," said Jenny Ligon, TEEX Manager of External Relations, who worked on the FEMA proposal with Lynn Bizzell, ESTI Extension Program Director. "The simulation software offers a precisely-controlled driving environment that can adapt to the student's driving style and provide feedback with the goal of modifying decision-making and behavior."

"This simulator-based emergency vehicle operations training will benefit firefighters in Texas, where accidents involving emergency vehicles are a leading cause of firefighter injuries and fatalities," Bizzell said. "This type of training has been proven to reduce the number of injuries and deaths that occur while responding to and returning from incidents. This is one more tool that will help us provide Texas firefighters with the vital training they need," he added.

Although this program will primarily leverage TEEX's Fire Extension program to extend the reach of these federal funds, the simulation capabilities are customizable to many other emergency, municipal and personal vehicle types, Ligon said. Thus, the mobile simulator can be used across multiple TEEX programs. The ultimate significance is that TEEX will be able to excel in meeting the training needs of Texas emergency responders for many years to come, she added.

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Kathy Fraser

Associate Director of Marketing and Communications

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