36 Local Firefighters Graduate State Firefighting Academy
STOW –State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Deputy Director Joseph Klucznik announced the graduation of the 253rd class of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s fifty-day Career Recruit Firefighter Training Program on April 28, 2017. “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.
36 Graduates from 19 Fire Departments
The 36 graduates, all men, represent the 19 fire departments of: Acton, Beverly, Bourne, Braintree, Easton, Gardner, Lexington, Lynnfield, Medford, Melrose, Methuen, North Andover, Raynham, Saugus, Shrewsbury, Somerville, Stoneham, Waltham, and Yarmouth.
Guest Speaker: Patrick McMurray, Undersecretary for Homeland Security
As Undersecretary for Homeland Security within the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), Patrick McMurray is responsible for providing strategic leadership to the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the Massachusetts National Guard, the Commonwealth Fusion Center, the Homeland Security Division, and the Department of Fire Services. He serves as the state’s Homeland Security Advisor and chair of the State’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.
Over the course of a 25-year career in the United States Secret Service, Undersecretary McMurray gained diverse exposure to a range of security issues both domestically and abroad. As a Supervisory Special Agent in the Boston Field office, he oversaw intelligence investigations and a wide jurisdiction of criminal investigations, supervised the hiring and training of protective details, and managed the Service’s Cyber & Electronic Computer Crimes Task Force and Forensics Laboratory. Undersecretary McMurray was assigned to the Presidential Protective Division and to Secret Service Headquarters. Undersecretary McMurray holds a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from American International College in Springfield and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Sociology from Plattsburgh and Cortland State Universities of New York.
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.
Starting with Class #247, the Mass. Firefighting Academy’s Career Recruit Firefighter Training Class shifted from a 9-week to a 10-week program. Instead of three recruit classes of 24 students every three weeks, the academy now has two classes of 36 recruits every five weeks. There is still a total of 72 recruits on the Stow campus all the time. The longer program adds more practical time for recruits, including training in water rescue, power saws, additional live fire training, and more focus on Firefighter I/II practical skills.
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.