Fireman's Fund Awards Grant to SCI
December 15, 2008
The Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company has awarded a $30,000 grant to the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) to assist renovations at SCI’s Paducah, KY-based Marine Fire Fighting Program, a training facility dedicated to instructing mariners working on the inland river waterways. The Heritage program of the Fireman’s Fund awards grants to various departments across the United States each quarter. The announcement came at SCI’s River Bell Awards Luncheon on Thursday, December 11, 2008, that SCI was selected by a committee of employees of the insurance company to be a recipient of one of these assistance grants.
SCI’s firefighting training facility in Paducah, KY has trained more than 1,500 mariners since its inception in 2001. Eric Larsson, Director of SCI’s Maritime Education, says, “There is no other organization that has a specifically designed program to teach crucial firefighting skills to mariners who work on the inland rivers.” The Maritime Fire Fighting Program trains crews to respond when a fire event occurs on board, and the Program offers USCG approved courses, enabling mariners to qualify for certain Merchant Mariner Documents.
SCI’s facility uses simulation technology, considered an important part of SCI’s training, with a firefighting simulator constructed using the top portion of a towboat. SCI applied for a Heritage grant based on its need to upgrade the facilities used in teaching firefighting skills. Larsson says, “Our equipment has been put to much use since our training center opened.”
Those in training grapple with real-life circumstances in the safety of a controlled teaching environment. The various types of fires and emergency situations that can be created in this firefighting simulator allow students to really “feel the heat”—real fires blazing on board. Students learn and gain practical experience with fire pumps, fire mains, hydrants, hoses, nozzles, fire and smoke detecting systems, and fire extinguishers.
“It is technology that prepares mariners for a dangerous situation, and it is critical to this industry and the safety of the mariners that SCI serves,” notes Larsson. “With upgrades made possible by the Heritage program, we are able to ensure that our extensively used equipment maintains a high level of training for years to come.”
The Seamen's Church Institute teaches crucial firefighting skills to mariners who work on the inland rivers. The recent grant from the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company's Heritage program helps the Institute upgrade its simulation equipment used in training at the Paducah Center