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Letter: Fire academy is in good hands

I am writing to voice my displeasure with Suffolk County's Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services taking over the firefighter academy ["Fighting over fire academy," News, Aug. 29].

The department's representatives are going to fire chief council meetings and stating that the takeover would allow for more training for our members. This could not be further from the truth.

Although the county would save about $200,000 in administrative costs, the county department fails to mention the $300,000 Suffolk would lose from the state Education Department.

The county Vocational Education and Extension Board has successfully trained Suffolk volunteer firefighters for 70 years. The reduction in training over the last few years has been a result of the county cutting the fire academy's budget by 5 percent each year. Two hurricanes and a major snowstorm, which are beyond everyone's control, have also contributed to tight funding.

I have attended classes and live fires at the academy for 23 years. The training and learning experiences are second to none.

Robert Berry, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is an assistant fire chief of the Huntington Fire Department.

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