Firefighter Recruit Class Graduates from Department of Fire Services’ Springfield Campus
SPRINGFIELD –State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Deputy Director Joseph Klucznik announced the graduation of the fourth class to complete the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s fifty-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program at the new Springfield campus on June 21, 2017. “Today is an exciting day to see these recruits complete their training at this new facility,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “This rigorous professional training provides our newest fire-fighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said Ostroskey. “Being able to provide training closer to where western Massachusetts fire-fighters live and work has long been a goal of the Department of Fire Services and the fire service leadership,” he added. The Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA), a division of the Department of Fire Services, offers this program, tuition-free.
This is the fourth Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program to be held at the Department of Fire Services’ Springfield campus. The state bought the former Springfield Fire Training Center from the city and in 2015 completed a $13.4 million renovation and construction project on the 6-acre complex.
21 Graduates from 8 Fire Departments
The 21 graduates, two women and 19 men, represent the eight fire departments of: Chicopee, Easthampton, Greenfield, Ludlow, Northampton, Springfield, West Springfield, and Westfield.
Guest Speaker Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan
The guest speaker at the graduation was Greenfield Fire Chief Robert Strahan, a 25-year member of the fire service, twenty with the Greenfield Fire Department. He has been chief since 2013. He has also been the city’s Emergency Management Director since 2005 and is chairman of the Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee. Chief Strahan is a credentialed fire chief and holds many other fire board certifications. He serves as the District 9 Task Force Mutual Aid Coordinator, on the Hazardous Materials Team District 4 Oversight Board, and Operations Section Chief for the Northwestern Massachusetts Incident Management Team that deployed to New York City for Hurricane Sandy and responded to the tornados in Hampden County. He spoke about how valuable the training firefighters receive at the Fire Academy is at fire scenes in Franklin County where they so often rely upon mutual aid.
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, nine-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.