When The Leary Firefighters Foundation was established in 2000, one of its primary pledges was to finance the building of a new training facility for the Worcester Fire Department. Phase I of this project, The Leary Firefighters Foundation and EMC Corporation Burn Tower and Training Facility, was unveiled on November 1, 2002. The burn tower is used to train firefighters throughout Central Massachusetts, allowing them to simulate many of the emergency situations that they encounter in the line of duty, using real heat and smoke conditions. Training in this facility ensures on-going instruction in all emergency situations that firefighters must face when attacking a fire and rescuing inhabitants.
The Leary Firefighters Foundation and EMC Corporation Training Center for the Worcester Fire Department was formally dedicated at a ceremony on October 3, 2007. The state-of-the-art facility, Phase II of a multi-year project with the Worcester Fire Department, was made possible by a partnership between The Leary Firefighters Foundation and EMC Corporation. The first of its kind, the facility now serves as a command post for Massachusetts during statewide emergencies and as a training facility for firefighters throughout Central Massachusetts. The facility also serves as a living memorial to Worcester’s bravest who died in the tragic 1999 fire that claimed the lives of six members of the Worcester Fire Department, including Denis Leary’s cousin, a childhood friend, and four other firefighters.
With the completion of the new training center, area firefighters and Incident Commanders are now able to hold realistic table-top exercises in emergency management situations, such as responding to hazardous materials and building collapses. Worcester area firefighters now have one centralized location where a full training curriculum can be realized. In the completion of this facility, the Foundation fulfills its pledge to ensure that Worcester Firefighters are trained in the safest and most effective methods and practices used in the fire service today.
In addition to the Burn Tower and Training Facility, and the Training Center, the Foundation also provided the Worcester Fire Department with a SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus) unit, and a rescue boat. The facility is now complete with the opening of the technologically advanced training center.
“This important gift from The Leary Firefighters Foundation and EMC Corporation is the final piece of a seven-year program to create a state-of-the-art training center that allows us to prepare firefighters for emergency situations in ways that we never have been able to before,” said Chief Gerard A. Dio, Worcester Fire Department. “In addition, the facility houses the Emergency Operations Center that will act as a command center for any statewide emergencies, giving us the vital communications tools and flexibility that are critical to taking action safely and swiftly in the protection of all Massachusetts citizens.”
Bill Teuber, Vice Chairman, EMC Corporation, said, “The loss of any firefighter or first responder in the line of duty is a tragedy. The recent passing of firefighters in Massachusetts emphasizes just how important it is that these brave individuals have the resources and protection they need to respond to any emergency situation. This is just one of the reasons EMC is proud to support firefighters in Worcester and throughout Central Massachusetts. These exceptional people keep us safe and deserve our commitment and support. The new training center in Worcester will provide them with vital technology and equipment for life-saving emergency training and response.”
“After the Worcester warehouse fire I knew that the only fitting memorial to my cousin, and those brave men that lost their lives that terrible day was a living memorial,” said Denis Leary, President, The Leary Firefighters Foundation, “one that served to train firefighters to the best of their abilities so that they could respond to emergencies as safely and swiftly as possible. It is an honor for the Foundation to be able to give the firefighters of Worcester this state-of-the-art training center that will not only help them fight fires and perform rescue operations but will allow them to perform their duties with increased safety for their own lives. When we are able to have a positive impact on the lives of firefighters, give them the tools that they need to serve and protect, and help to ensure that they return home to their families each night, we know that we have accomplished our mission.”
The Leary Firefighters Foundation also provided support for the purchase of an SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) Response Unit for refilling or repairing air tanks in the field during an emergency. The vehicle has an on-board computer system to document and track all SCBA maintenance records, as well as face piece records of each firefighter in the department.
In the winter of 2003, the Foundation purchased a new rescue boat for the Worcester Fire Department. With 30 bodies of water to protect, the Worcester Rescue Company and Dive Team use the boat as part of their water and ice rescue operations. Easily transported via trailer, the boat is outfitted with state-of-the-art rescue equipment that includes a GPS system and depth finder. It has a strong, lightweight flip-down platform that will allow the divers safe and easy access to the boat. It has an extra-wide bottom that increases stability and allows 3 divers, with all of their gear, to be working in the boat simultaneously. The outside edges of the boat are configured to allow other boats to connect to it to form a floating platform, providing rescuers with a stable base of operations for longer, more complicated rescue efforts.