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Minnesota fire departments receive training grants

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The Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education (MBFTE) recently announced that it will provide Minnesota’s 784 fire departments with more than $1.6 million, $80 per firefighter, for training classes.

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“These grants benefit the safety of all Minnesotans,” said Bruce West, MBFTE executive director. “Assuring annual firefighter training is good for departments and their communities. Skill updating makes firefighters better responders and also keeps them safer.”

In addition to boosting department training budgets by $80 per firefighter, the MBFTE will fund more than $1.4 million for live burn, hazardous materials operations and other training courses.

The amount of training money departments receive per firefighter depends on funding allocated to the MBFTE by Minnesota’s Fire Safety Account. The Fire Safety Advisory Committee makes recommendations to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety commissioner on use of the funding.

This is the fourth year the MBFTE has provided firefighter training dollars. The allotment process helps eliminate the training budget disparity between larger, better-funded departments and those in cities and towns with smaller budgets.

West said that firefighters of all experience levels need annual training to help keep themselves and their communities safe. Live burn training is an especially effective tool, he said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re one year in the department or 30 years, you still learn every day,” West said. “There are things that happen inside a live burn that will better prepare you for the next fire.”