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STOW — State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Director David C. Evans announced the graduation of the 258th class of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s fifty-day Career Recruit Firefighter Training Program on November 3, 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.
33 Graduates from 18 Fire Departments
The 33 graduates, two women and 31 men, represent the 18 fire departments of: Burlington, Chelsea, Danvers, Fairhaven, Gardner, Hull, Lynnfield, Marshfield, Methuen, New Bedford, Norton, Reading, Somerville, Tewksbury, Truro, Watertown, Winchester, and Weymouth.
Guest Speaker: Weymouth Deputy Chief Thomas Murphy
The guest speaker was Weymouth Fire Deputy Chief Thomas Murphy, a 20-year veteran of the fire service and a former U.S. Navy submariner. He holds an Associate’s degree in fire science, is working on his Bachelor’s degree and is a credentialed fire chief. Deputy Murphy, the son of a Boston firefighter who died in the line of duty, spoke to the graduates about how this is the beginning not the end of their career studies, and how hard the firefighting profession can be on families.
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.