State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Director David C. Evans announced the graduation of the 262nd class of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s fifty-day Career Recruit Firefighter Training Program on March 30, 2018. “This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. The Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA), a division of the Department of Fire Services, offers this program tuition-free. The ceremony took place at the Department of Fire Services in Stow, MA.
34 Graduates from 23 Fire Departments
The 34 graduates, two women and 32 men, represent the 23 fire departments of: Acton, Blackstone, Braintree, Cambridge, Clinton, Easton, Framingham, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lakeville, Marblehead, Mashpee, Milton, New Bedford, Reading, Seekonk, Sharon, Somerville, Springfield, Stoughton, Sudbury, Truro and Yarmouth.
Guest Speaker: Hamilton FF Edmund “Skip” Mullin, ret.
Retired Hamilton Firefighter Edmund “Skip” Mullin was the guest speaker. He has been an MFA instructor for the past 11 years focusing on molding new firefighters in the Career and Call / Volunteer Recruit Training programs. This has allowed him to combine his love of the fire service with his love of teaching. In 2003, he graduated from the Career Recruit Firefighter Training Program and became the oldest full-time firefighter in Hamilton at age 56. Before becoming a full-time firefighter he was a call firefighter and for 20 years had a career teaching mathematics to high school students. He offered the graduates some friendly advice on important qualities to bring to the job every day: integrity, professionalism, and compassion, as well as the need to constantly train to prepare to respond to the unexpected.
Today’s Firefighters Do Far More than Fight Fires
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 including self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), hydrants, hoses, power tools, and apparatus.
At the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy 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, confined space rescue techniques, and rappelling. The intensive, ten-week program for municipal firefighters involves classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training, and live firefighting practice.
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 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.