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Through a cooperative effort, Villa Park firefighters will train on an emergency vehicle driver simulator funded in large part by a regional grant.
Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (IL-08) and Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced on July 24 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded a $218,182 Assistance to Firefighters Grant to the Addison Fire Protection District for the driver simulator. The Addison Fire Protection District applied for the grant on behalf of 12 local departments including Villa Park.
The driving simulator will allow firefighters to practice driving emergency vehicles prior to real-life emergency situations. While departments will continue to use live, on-the-road training, the simulator will provide invaluable opportunities for first-responders to practice driving large emergency vehicles in all types of weather and in dangerous situations such as when another vehicle or pedestrian enters the emergency vehicle’s path. Many of these dangerous scenarios can only be practiced through simulation.
The grant covers 90 percent of the cost of the simulator, and each of the 12 cooperating departments will be responsible for about $1,800.
Villa Park Fire Chief Ron Rakosnik explained the grant demonstrates one of many ways local departments work together.
“A lot of us work together now, and this will help us continue to work together to maintain and improve our firefighters’ safety,” Chief Rakosnik said.
Each department will use the simulator for one month each year. In addition to Villa Park, departments named in the grant include: Addison Fire Protection District, Bensenville Fire Protection District, Elmhurst Fire Department, Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company, Glenside Fire Protection District, Itasca Fire Protection District, Lombard Fire Department, Oak Brook Terrace Fire Protection District, Streamwood Fire Department, Wood Dale Fire Protection District and York Center Fire Protection District.