The History of the Suffolk County Fire Academy

On May 24, 1943, the Vocational Education and Extension Board of the County of Suffolk was created by resolution of the existing Board of Supervisors to establish a fire school and deliver training programs for the volunteer firefighters of Suffolk County.

During the early years, programs were conducted primarily at local fire stations. Hands-on training was either received at out of the County Fire Schools or from improvised facilities provided by resourceful departments.

In 1959 the Fire Training Center at Yaphank, New York was commissioned. Although its facilities only consisted of a training tower, smokehouse and oil pits, it formed the basis for the development of today’s training complex. Between 1959 and 1981, the Class A residential burn building, the Railroad Tank Car, Taxpayer facility, Pump Test building, LP Gas facility, maze facility and the classroom/administration building were added. Over the years improvements were made to the LP Gas facility and vehicle fires were added, as were Electrical Emergencies and a Natural Gas mock up installed in a classroom.

For many years we were simply known as the Fire Training School. During the mid 80’s the Vocational Board changed the designation to the Suffolk County Fire Academy to better reflect the variety of programs offered.

The last ten years brought many changes and improvements to the Fire Academy’s facilities. The Tank Car was converted to LPG to meet current pollution standards. Our Instructors built a confined space simulator and New York State Fire Academy made the Suffolk County Fire Academy the downstate Regional Confined Space Training Facility. The Taxpayer burn building was converted to natural gas and an LPG Car prop was installed to meet the current EPA pollution standards. The year 2000 saw the opening of a natural gas burn Tower building. This was an extension of the original Tower building. With the addition of specially designed movable partitions, the interior layout can be changed annually. Power jam doors were added to enhance training. In 2005, a new Class A burn building came on line. This building, approximately 5,000 square feet, with a front porch, attached two-car garage, basement and attic, reflects the type of home most commonly constructed in Suffolk today. The old Class A building is being used for New Recruit training and Firefighter Survival courses. A show and tell two-story building was constructed by Academy Instructors to demonstrate different construction techniques, the new hurricane windows and Rapid Intervention Team hands on training.

Fire Academy classroom facilities have been updated with the latest audio-visual equipment. There are dedicated rooms for Gas emergencies, Tabletop Scenarios, Technical Rescue and HazMat courses.

We look forward to this year’s training schedule and will continue to provide the firefighting communities of Suffolk County with the best training available.