STOW– State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Director David C. Evans presented certificates of completion to members of the Call/Volunteer Recruit Firefighter Training Class 73. The ceremony took place on Thursday, Nov. 1, in an evening ceremony at the Department of Fire Services.
The Call/Volunteer Firefighter Recruit Training program is unique in that it delivers a standard recruit training curriculum, meeting national standards, on nights and weekends to accommodate the schedule of firefighters in suburban and rural areas. Bringing the training closer to the firefighters often means more firefighters can participate. It uses an online eBlended format that has students doing more work outside of class and taking quizzes online. This allows students more time to practice training skills with instructors and to better control their own workloads and time commitments.
The 26 graduates, one woman and 25 men, represent 22 fire departments including Ayer, Groton, Pepperell, Shirley and Townsend.
Today’s firefighters do far more than fight fires. They are the first ones called to respond to chemical and environmental emergencies, ranging from the suspected presence of carbon monoxide to a gas leak.
They may be called to rescue a child who has fallen through the ice or who has locked himself in a bathroom. They rescue people from stalled elevators and those who are trapped in vehicle crashes. They test and maintain their equipment, ranging from self-contained breathing apparatus to hydrants, hoses, power tools, and vehicles.
In this Massachusetts Firefighting Academy program, they learn all these skills and more from certified fire instructors who are also experienced firefighters. Students learn all the basic skills they need to respond to fires and to contain and control them. They are also given training in public fire education, hazardous material incident mitigation, flammable liquids, stress management, firefighter self-rescue, and vehicle extrication. The intensive program includes classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training and live firefighting practice.
Students receive classroom training in all basic firefighter skills. They practice first under non-fire conditions and then during controlled fire conditions. To graduate, students must demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation, and fire attack. Fire attack operations range from mailbox fires to multiple-floor or multiple room structural fires.
Graduates have completed 240 hours of training on nights and weekends. Upon successful completion of this program, all students have met the standards of National Fire Protection Association 1001. In addition they have the ability to become certified to the level of Firefighter I and II and Hazardous Materials First Responder Operational Level by the Massachusetts Fire Training Council, which is accredited by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications.
The following local firefighters graduated from the Call Volunteer class:
Ayer: Mitchell Taylor
Groton: Edward O’Dell
Pepperell: Andrew Seamans, Nicole Sweeney
Shirley: Eric Fleming
Townsend: Christopher Grotton, Austin Matthes