By: Jud Fisher—
A five-acre training facility for emergency responders will add a range of new training features through a $100,000 Ball Brothers Foundation grant awarded last month.
The training facility, located in the Henry County city of New Castle, provides firefighters, EMTs, police, community safety volunteers, and others with a safe and controlled environment to carry out realistic simulations. Existing features at the training center include: an on-site tower for practicing utility rescues, a mock home for fire rescue and other simulations, and a pond for conducting water and ice rescues, among other features. Many of the features at the site have been developed by volunteers who have spent countless hours establishing the training facility. Unique training features already attract responder teams from across the region and even from across the state. Further development will enhance these offerings and make the Henry County-based facility among the best in the state.
Among the new features to be created through Ball Brothers Foundation support are features to assist with confined space and trench rescue. As extensive utility tunnel systems are prominent features in the underground environments of cities across the state, training for first responders tasked with carrying out rescue operations in these spaces is critical. Similarly, Ball Brothers Foundation funding will also support development of a rubble simulation area that prepares emergency responders for navigating steel beams, wood and concrete impediments common with building and home collapses. A railroad grade crossing will also be constructed with Foundation support, providing a space to train rescuers who may work on crash sites or hazardous materials sites involving railroads. Other hazardous materials field props will be also added to the training facility.
Architectural, engineering, and heavy equipment supports will be paid for through the Ball Brothers Foundation grant to ensure that new elements added to the site are sound and secure. The safety of those training at the site is paramount.
“When the Ball Brothers Foundation looks at what makes communities great, we know that excellent emergency response teams and well-trained law enforcement officers play a vital role. Men and women across our region put their own lives on the line every day to aid citizens in need and to protect our community, and we owe it to them to offer best-in-class training and support,” said Jud Fisher, president and chief operating officer of Ball Brothers Foundation. “Through Ball Brothers Foundation’s interest in emergency management grantmaking, we are pleased to help strengthen this training facility which is an invaluable resource for our region and our state.”
The $100,000 grant was awarded to the Delaware County Emergency Management agency which is directed by Muncie area-native Jason Rogers. Rogers and his team frequently use the nearby Henry County facility and will collaborate with teams in Henry County to put the new grant-supported features in place.
A listing of other grants approved during Ball Brothers Foundation’s most recent board meeting is available at www.ballfdn.org.
With assets totaling nearly $160 million, Ball Brothers Foundation annually makes grants in support of arts and culture, education, the environment, health, human services and public affairs. The Muncie-based family foundation gives priority to projects and programs that improve the quality of life in BBF’s home city, county and state.