Lattanzio said that while the houses will not be burned for practice involving the fire department, the homes will be piped so that theatrical smoke can be used to provide the illusion of a fire.
The homes will be set up near each other on a sort of imitation residential neighborhood, complete with stop signs and typical traffic props that one would see in a real neighborhood.
The houses will also be filled with props, including real furniture, books and items that would be found in a real home to create a real-life experience for those training in them. Police will be able to train on instances where a makeshift drug lab is set up in the kitchen, Lattanzio said, and forensics teams will be able to train with blood splatters on the walls (red paint would be used, Lattanzio said).
SWAT teams and police dogs will also be able to train in the facilities.
"Training and travel for training is almost non-existent in our budgets," said Colonie Police Chief Steven Heider, who explained that continued, repetitive training is what helps emergency services personnel learn how to save lives best.
Heider also pointed out that in cases of natural disaster, emergency services personnel have been criticized for their response.
"Criticism has come that people didn't know how to respond," he said.
Reilly praised McEneny for crossing over to another district and seeing the need for such a service in Colonie, before explaining how much the project will help the emergency services personnel in learning how to do their jobs better.
"It will not only help us save properties," he said. "It will help us save lives."
Reilly described the new facility as a "regional facility," explaining that the facility will have crossover effect and help so many departments area-wide.
Lattanzio said the town would probably be breaking ground and moving the homes in the winter, when the ground is frozen and easier to cut, and that hopefully the new addition to the facility will be able to open by next spring.
For more on this story, check back at www.spotlightnews.com, or read the Wednesday, Oct. 21, print edition of the Colonie Spotlight.""