TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) - The Alabama Fire College has a memorial to firefighters who have lost their lives in Alabama and for first responders who died in the 9/11 attacks of 17 years ago.
That tragedy also changed how first responders are being trained at the facility.
More grant money became available to train first responders soon after the Department of Homeland Security was created in response to 9/11.
“There is no 9-1-2. We’re the last line of defense and so we are expected to do our jobs regardless,” Matt Russell said.
Russell is the Executive Director of the Alabama Fire College. He says more than 30,000 people a year train there each year.
“Forty-four special response teams are located in Alabama and they’re all recipients of that Homeland Security grant program,” Russell added.
Those grants can be used to buy equipment or pay for additional personnel.
Russell went on to say that Alabama is the 9th leading state as far as natural disasters and federal declarations. “So we need the funding,” Russell explained.
The training firefighters get helps bolster partnerships homeland security has with local and state government when it comes to protecting critical infrastructure and keeping people safe.
They want to make sure firefighters have the resiliency to handle many emergencies through training at the Alabama Fire College.
“We as a local entity should bend, bend, bend, but not break. And the reason we don’t break cause we have that mutual aid partnership throughout the state of Alabama and the nation,” Russell concluded.