Eight female firefighters graduated the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s Call/Volunteer Firefighter Training Program last fall.
The 78th class — which also contained of 28 men — included the highest number of female graduates to ever complete the program. Only once, in 2017, has a graduating class contained this many women.
The graduates represented 21 fire departments, including Tyler Boudreau and Nathan Paul of Ashburnham; Noah Emslie of Ashby; Bonnie Evans of Carlisle; Matthew Ellis, Adam King and William Nigzus of Harvard; Nathaniel Nieva of Pepperell; Jonathan Moore of Townsend; and David LaRiviere, Jr. of Tyngsboro.
They received certificates of completion on Oct. 28.
The program features physical fitness training, firefighter skills training and live firefighter practice. Students completed about 240 of training on nights and weekends.
“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…” a news release by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services states.
“In this Massachusetts Firefighting Academy program, they (students) learn all these skills and more from certified fire instructors who are also experienced firefighters,” the release states.
The program covers topics ranging from hazardous material incident mitigation, to search and rescue skills, to vehicle extrication, and even stress management.
An online component allows flexibility for firefighters from suburban and rural areas. “Bringing the trainingcloser to the firefighters often means more firefighters can participate,” the release states.
To graduate, students must meet the standards of the National Fire Protection Association 1001, and become certified at the levels of Firefighter I and II, and Hazardous Materials First Responder Operational Level by theMassachusetts Fire Training Council, which is accredited by the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, according to the news release.
An earlier version of this story stated that a record-breaking number of women graduated from the academy last fall. A correction was made to reflect that the 78th class actually tied another class (in 2017) for the most female graduates.