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The Niagara University first responder disability awareness training program has received an $85,000 grant from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation to complete implementation of FRDAT training in Erie and Niagara counties.
The one-year grant will enhance Niagara University's efforts to move away from a direct training model of individual first responders to a focus on capacity expansion and increased impact by:
•Focusing on complete implementation of FRDAT training for Erie and Niagara counties so as to use these local communities as model jurisdictions to grow the national market for the critical programs.
•Creating a "master trainer" course to educate a statewide/national network of individuals to teach the train-the-trainer courses on behalf of FRDAT and municipal assessment training.
•Increasing the number of train-the-trainer courses statewide and to other jurisdictions outside of New York.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be $236,250.
In September 2010, Niagara University was the only institution awarded a grant from the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to develop and conduct a statewide disability awareness and sensitivity curriculum and the corresponding training tools for first responders.
The program is customized for each first responder discipline - emergency management, firefighters, 911 operators/dispatchers, emergency medical services and law enforcement. Created in cooperation with all major first responder associations, councils and state offices, the training is designed to give first responders the knowledge necessary to best serve and respond to individuals with disabilities. Other states also have inquired about the program, with an initiative in Arkansas already underway.
The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation supports community programming that results in children, adolescents and young adults affected by substance abuse, learning disabilities, mental illness and intellectual disabilities achieving their full potential. Its support in this instance will allow for all first responders in Erie and Niagara counties to be adequately and appropriately trained, while connecting with the disability community to address issues in a more collaborative and constructive manner. It also allows for Western New York to establish itself as the national training and education center for first responders across the country.
For more information on Niagara University's first responder disability awareness training program, call 716-286-7355 or visit frdat.niagara.edu.