RANDALL'S ISLAND — The United States Army will join the city's fire department in training both new firefighters and military recruits in a "historic" partnership meant to strengthen both agencies.
While both the Army and the FDNY have worked together for a year, it was made official Tuesday with Maj. Gen. Anthony Funkhouser joining FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro and Chief of Department James E. Leonard at the fire academy to sign the deal.
It's the first time the Army has partnered with a fire department to collaborate on training.
"The Army has protected and defended our nation since its creation more than 240 years ago, and the last 150 years the FDNY has greatly protected the life and property here in New York City," Nigro said.
Both are known as the "absolute best at what they do" and the partnership is "historic," he added.
The Army and the FDNY will collaborate on technical and educational training skills, sharing lessons learned on battlefields and fighting fires.
Probies at the Fire Academy will learn from the Army's Center for Initial Military Training, based in Virginia. And new Army recruits will also visit the fire academy.
The biggest change will be a new training protocol for Fire Academy drill instructors, officials said.
All drill instructors at the academy will be trained by the Army. They'll help the FDNY with a new certification course for this position.
Funkhouser, the commanding general of the Center for Initial Military Training, said it's a "real honor" to partner with the FDNY.
"When you talk about scale, this is probably one of the biggest fire departments in the nation," he said — and was impressed by how the FDNY trains 600 men and women to go out and fight fires "right off the bat."
Both require an understanding of technical skills and leadership in high-pressure and dangerous situations.
"Our shared lessons learned will manifest into a mutual commitment to the men and women who protect Americans and our homeland," Funkhouser said.