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New York

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta joined Denis Leary, FDNY Chief of Department Salvatore Cassano and the FDNY Foundation for the dedication of the FDNY’s new High-Rise Simulator on March 19, 2009. Equipped with mock residential, office and commercial floor layouts, the state-of-the-art simulator is designed to produce real-life fire and building conditions and help firefighters improve their skills in combating the difficulties of fighting fires in high-rise buildings and performing rescues under extreme conditions.

The 4,000-square-foot structure, located at the FDNY Fire Academy on Randall’s Island, features a variety of real-life functions, including a fire and flashover simulator, a central smoke system, a dry standpipe system, mock elevators and stairways, video hookups on each floor for review and a simulated fire command station. High-rise buildings retain heat and gases that can quickly spread and create hazardous conditions for firefighters, and the simulator helps recreate these scenarios, improving each member’s ability to predict the movement of a fire. The practical skills learned through exercises in the simulator build firefighters’ knowledge and serve as an important tool in addressing the safety of both civilians and rescue personnel.

“In a city with thousands of high-rise buildings, this is an incredibly important training tool for our members,” Commissioner Scoppetta said. “FDNY has long been at the cutting edge of firefighter training and technology and this simulator is proof of our commitment to offering New York City the very best in fire protection. We couldn’t have done it, of course, without the very generous support of The Leary Firefighters Foundation as well as the FDNY Foundation. Denis is a great friend of FDNY and we’re honored to be with him and all the others who made this a reality today.”

“We are so proud to open the new high-rise simulator and to be a part of the FDNY’s goal to have the best training for fire departments across the country,” said Denis Leary, President, The Leary Firefighters Foundation. “This facility could not have been possible without the generous support of the FDNY Foundation, Newmark Knight Frank Chairman, Jeffrey Gural, The William E. Weiss Foundation, The Real Estate Board of New York and the hard work and creative vision of the recently departed Lys Hopper.”
“The FDNY Foundation is thrilled to be a part of this great project,” said FDNY Foundation Chairman Stephen Ruzow. “This demonstrates all of our commitment to finding new ways to keep the people of New York safe. We’re very pleased to be a part of the great team that turned this dream into reality.”
The simulator will be an important part of the FDNY’s training program for firefighters. Since 2004, more than $60 million has been dedicated to upgrading the facilities at the Fire Academy. The simulator was funded through a public-private partnership by The Leary Firefighters Foundation and the non-profit FDNY Foundation.

Since its inception in 2000, The Leary Firefighters Foundation has worked to provide fire departments with funding and resources for the best available equipment and training. To date, The Foundation has created partnerships and raised more than $10 million dollars for initiatives critical to firefighter and public safety, including: the restoration of New Orleans firehouses devastated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; the Worcester Burn Tower, Training Facility and Emergency Operations Center which serves fire departments throughout Central Massachusetts; a Tactical Command Vehicle and high-speed rescue boat for the Boston Fire Department; the FDNY’s first-ever state-of-the-art Mobile Command Unit and Flashover Simulators for the FDNY and Boston Training Academies.

In the fall of 2004, The Leary Firefighters Foundation donated two Flashover Simulators to the FDNY Fire Academy on Randall’s Island. Flashover is the stage of a fire at which radiant heat from burning objects cause all combustible surfaces to reach their ignition temperature, causing the entire room to erupt into flames. Flashover can occur in as little as three minutes as temperatures quickly reach 1,100 – 1,500 degrees. The Flashover Simulator gives firefighters the opportunity to observe the progression of fire from ignition to flashover in a controlled setting. By studying the conditions that lead to flashover, firefighters will be better prepared to recognize a potential flashover situation and determine the appropriate time to leave the fire area, increasing their chance of survival. In January 2005, the flashover simulators became fully incorporated into the training regiment of both probationary and veteran firefighters.

Working closely with senior FDNY commanders, The Leary Firefighters Foundation determined that the most immediate way to help the department address the challenges of the post-9/11 public safety mandate was through the purchase of a Mobile Command Center (MCC). Designed and developed by top industry professionals according to the specifications of ranking FDNY commanders, this state-of-the-art emergency management vehicle was deployed on July 19, 2004 at a press conference in Rockefeller Center.

The MCC features full audio and video capabilities for communication between city agencies, a computer network, exterior surveillance cameras, two 40-inch LCD flat panel monitors and a 42-foot pneumatic camera mast, all linked to a video monitoring and recording system which will enable communications and tactical officers to examine changing conditions during an emergency.

During the 2004 Republican National Convention, the MCC was stationed outside Madison Square Garden monitoring conditions around the clock and in the future will be utilized for remote command at major incidents as a visible point-of-contact for communications between FDNY, NYPD, and OEM, as well as media and local officials, and as a staging area at parades and major sporting and entertainment events. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the MCC traveled with FDNY Incident Commanders deployed to assist the stricken area and played a critical role in establishing and supporting communication among the relief workers.

In the wake of the events of September 11, 2001, The Leary Firefighters Foundation immediately established The Fund for New York’s Bravest to raise money for the families of the 343 firefighters who perished in the line of duty. With enormous support from friends in the entertainment community, the Foundation threw a landmark New York City benefit, The BASH for New York’s Bravest, to celebrate our local heroes. Through the success of the BASH and the overwhelming support shown by donors throughout the nation, The Fund for New York’s Bravest raised over $1.9 million. Every dollar collected went directly into the hands of the families, free of any administrative costs, before the fund was closed in 2003.