PATERSON, NJ - The Paterson Fire Department on Tuesday unveiled two driving simulators to train firefighters how to safely operate fire engines and ambulances through the streets of Paterson.

Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino was joined by U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) at Paterson Fire Department Headquarters to exhibit the new firefighter training equipment, which received a funding of $177,868 through a federal FIRE Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) awarded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Paterson Fire Chief Michael Postorino, who leads a department of 330 professional firefighters, said the grant was especially appreciated during the tough economic times that have put constraints on municipal budgets.

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"This grant money allows our department to be more efficient, better trained, and more equipped," Postorino said. "The efforts by Rep. Bill Pascrell in obtaining grants for fire departments allows us to best serve our residents."
The driving simulators feature three large monitors, with the cockpit resembling the cab of an actual fire truck. Software can be uploaded to the simulator to replicate different scenarios, including various emergency situations, weather conditions, traffic patterns, and specific street layouts.  The simulators, which are typically found only in fire training academies, will be housed in the Paterson Fire Department Headquarters and will be available to fire departments in surrounding communities upon request.

“Ensuring the safety of Paterson residents against the dangers of fire starts with providing the community’s firefighters with the equipment they need. That’s what the FIRE grants are all about,” said Pascrell, who introduced the Pascrell’s Firefighter Investment Response Enhancement (FIRE) Act in 1999. “This state-of-the-art equipment will ensure that our brave first responders have every advantage available to keep the risk of loss of life and property damage at an absolute minimum. The FIRE Act was written here in Northern New Jersey with the purpose of helping communities support their first responders and bolster public safety.”