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SPRINGFIELD — SPRINGFIELD –State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Director David C. Evans announced the graduation of the sixth class to complete the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s fifty-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program at the Springfield campus on December 7, 2017. “Today is an exciting day to see these recruits complete their training,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said Ostroskey. “Being able to provide training closer to where western Massachusetts firefighters 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.
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. The Department of Fire Services also has a campus in Stow.
16 Graduates from 7 Fire Departments
The 16 graduates, three women and 13 men, represent the seven fire departments of: Agawam, Amherst, Chicopee, Easthampton, Holyoke, Northampton, and Springfield.
Guest Speaker Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor
The guest speaker at the graduation was Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor, joined the Easthampton Fire Department in 1990 as a member of the call force, was appointed full time in 1994, and promoted to fire chief in 2009. Chief Mottor is president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts as well as former president of the Hampshire County Fire Defense Association and Western Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Association. He has a Bachelor’s in Fire Science from Anna Maria College. He spoke about how important consistent training is especially in Western Massachusetts where there is a great reliance on the mutual aid system.
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.