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Legislators to visit Fire Service Institute Friday

Jeff Unger, News Bureau
(217) 333-1085;


CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois state senators and representatives will have the chance to don emergency suits and gear during demonstrations Friday (April 25) at the Illinois Fire Service Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Legislators, who also will tour the facilities at the institute, will be offered the opportunity to participate in an automobile extrication demonstration, a collapse rescue demonstration and to experience the challenges faced by firefighters dressed in breathing apparatus as they cope with mazes and a smoke-filled building.

"The idea is to give the legislators a hands-on experience," said Richard Jaehne, the institute director. "We want them to realize the rigors of fire and rescue work, and all the training and equipment it involves."

The open house, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., also will include discussions about ongoing research on how heat stress can affect firefighters and how firefighters train to save colleagues in dangerous situations.

The Fire Service Institute, at 11 Gerty Drive, Champaign, is the statutory State Fire Academy for Illinois and provides firefighters and emergency responders with training, education, information and research. Nine hundred seventy-six fire departments trained personnel through the academy during the last fiscal year.

The legislators scheduled to attend, their political affiliations and the locations of their district offices:

Sen. Dale E. Risinger, R-Peoria; Sen. George P. Shadid, D-Pekin; Rep. Donald L. Moffitt, R-Galesburg; Rep. Sandra M. Pihos, R-Glen Ellyn; Rep. Chapin Rose, R-Charleston; Rep. Michael K. Smith, D-Canton.