STOW – Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier, acting director of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA), announced the graduation of 61 firefighters from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy today, March 4.
Graduates completed the 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program at three campuses: Class #299 trained at the Stow campus, Class #S26 trained at the Springfield campus and Class #BW17 trained at the Bridgewater campus.
“First responders are on the frontlines protecting their communities, and these newest firefighters are needed now more than ever,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “The rigorous professional training they’ve received provides them with the physical, mental, and technical skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely.”
Class #299 (Stow): 26 Graduates from 12 Fire Departments
The 26 firefighters of Class #299 represent the fire departments of Beverly, Chelmsford, Devens, Douglas, Framingham, North Andover, Sudbury, Taunton, Tewksbury, Wayland, Wellfleet, and Wilmington.
Among the graduates was Kathleen Neel for Sudbury Fire Department.
Class #S26 (Springfield): 22 Graduates from 8 Fire Departments
The 22 firefighters of Class #S26 represent the fire departments of East Longmeadow, Gardner, Marblehead, Northampton, Northbridge, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Waltham.
Class #BW17 (Bridgewater): 13 Graduates from 9 Fire Departments
The 13 firefighters of Class #BW17 represent the fire departments of Cambridge, Chatham, Fairhaven, Kingston, Marshfield, Orleans, Salem, Walpole, and West Bridgewater.
Basic Firefighter Skills
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. Upon successful completion of the Recruit Program all students have met the national standards of National Fire Protection Association 1001 and are 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.
Today’s Firefighters Do Far More than Fight Fires
Today’s firefighters do far more than fight fires. They train to respond to all types of hazards and emergencies. They are the first ones called to respond to chemical and environmental emergencies, ranging from the suspected presence of carbon monoxide to Fentanyl overdoses or 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 including self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), hydrants, hoses, power tools, and apparatus.
At the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, they learn all these skills and more, including the latest science of fire behavior and suppression tactics, from certified fire instructors. They also receive training in public fire education, hazardous material incident mitigation, flammable liquids, stress management, and self-rescue techniques. The intensive, 10-week program for municipal firefighters involves classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training, and live firefighting practice.
The MFA, which marked its 50th anniversary last year, provides recruit and in-service training at three separate campuses and has graduated nearly 14,000 recruit, call, and volunteer firefighters in more than 430 classes.