Saratoga Springs

Saratoga Springs fire department to train new recruits

Saratoga Springs Fire Department Chief Joe Dolan makes remarks at the ceremonial groundbreaking of City of Saratoga Springs Station No. 3 on Henning Road in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 16.
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Saratoga Springs Fire Department Chief Joe Dolan makes remarks at the ceremonial groundbreaking of City of Saratoga Springs Station No. 3 on Henning Road in Saratoga Springs on Aug. 16.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Saratoga Springs Fire Department is planning to create its own training academy for recruits as it seeks to hire 16 new firefighters after it received $4.1 million in federal funding in September.

“There is going to be no fire academy that is going to take 16 recruits. We are going to have to perform our own,” said Fire Chief Joseph Dolan to City Council members during a special meeting held Monday morning to amend the proposed 2023 budget to provide around $355,000 in training costs. 

The federal funding provides the city with money to hire and pay 16 firefighters to staff the department’s third fire station, which is slated to open in 2023, for three years. The new fire station, which cost nearly $9 million to construct, will provide coverage for the city’s eastern-most portion, which borders Saratoga Lake.  

Part of the federal grant agreement is that the city is responsible for training the officers. However, most academies are capped at around 25 recruits, meaning the city will need to run its own.

“I’ve never run a recruit school,” Dolan said at the meeting. “I’ve taught many classes and I’ve assisted with recruit training, but I’ve never ran my own.”

State law does allows for departments to run their own academy, he said. 

During the meeting, Mayor Ron Kim asked whether the department would need specialized equipment for the academy. 

Dolan said Tuesday he has spoken to the Wilton Fire Department chief about using that department’s training center, which includes a fire tower and classrooms. 

“They have all the facilities we need there,” he said. 

Dolan said the Wilton fire chief indicated he needed to discuss it with his district. Dolan also said that while all of the officers in the department are instructors and cover a lot of material, the department will reach out to the state for training assistance with the hazardous material course. 

As for hiring firefighters, Dolan said they have a list of 23 candidates. Those people will go through a background check next before being interviewed. After that, the candidates the department would like to hire will receive conditional offers and undergo both physical and psychological exams before being offered a permanent probationary offer. 

The hope is to have the recruits ready by March 20 to start the academy, which would end just before July 4.

Categories: News, News, Saratoga County, Saratoga Springs

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