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Press Release Danvers Fire Captain Receives 2021 Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year Award

Captain James Brooks was recognized at the 26th Annual Fire & Life Safety Education Conference
For immediate release:
  • Department of Fire Services
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security

Media Contact for Danvers Fire Captain Receives 2021 Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year Award

Jake Wark, Public Information Officer

Captain James Brooks receiving an award with fire officials

HYANNISHYANNIS—Captain James Brooks of the Danvers Fire Department received the 2021 Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year Award at the 26th Annual Massachusetts Fire & Life Safety Education Conference, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey announced today.

Throughout 2020, Captain Brooks worked with the Danvers IT Department and school system to deliver the Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E) program to students, overcoming the challenges of remote education during the pandemic. During his time as the Danvers Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Officer, he has inspired not one but two “Young Heroes,” who kept their cool during fires and used their knowledge to help others escape safely. Captain Brooks is known for elevating the quality of the Department’s fire prevention programming, and has been training his successor well in advance of his retirement next year.

“Captain Brooks’ dedication to the safety of residents, visitors, and especially the school children of Danvers is so impressive that he’s inspired four firefighters to join the Danvers Fire and Life Safety Team, ensuring that the program will continue long after he retires,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.

The other distinguished nominees were:

  • Firefighter Douglas Bocash, Weymouth Fire Department: Firefighter Bocash has made a large impact on the Weymouth community through his CPR certification program. As an instructor, he creates scenarios and simulates environments that help his students see the relevancy of his program to their daily lives and has helped create large numbers of CPR-certified residents. He also utilizes accessible technology such as mobile phone apps and has helped to build bridges in the Weymouth community connecting the fire department with local schools and the South Shore Hospital.
  • Deputy Chief Sean Mitchell, Nantucket Fire Department: Deputy Chief Mitchell has been an advocate for firefighters’ health and an educator for his local department on the safe storage, cleaning, and handling of turnout gear to reduce the risk of occupational cancer from PFAS. On a national level, Deputy Chief Miller put forth a resolution at the International Association of Fire Fighters’ 55th Convention to reduce the circulation of turnout gear containing PFAS and promote the health and safety of firefighters from personal protective equipment that presents its own hazards.
  • Firefighter Brendan Palumbo, Shrewsbury Fire Department: Confronting the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Firefighter Palumbo utilized social media to continue bringing fire safety to Shrewsbury youth despite the challenges of remote learning. Firefighter Palumbo created and produced a Home Escape video with his own family and then shared the video through social media platforms. His video was picked up by local media and helped further promote fire safety in the Worcester County area, multiplying his own efforts.

The Massachusetts Fire & Life Safety Education Conference brings fire educators, prevention officers, teachers, care specialists, and others together to share knowledge, build partnerships, and recognize the Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year. This year’s conference was held at the Cape Codder Resort and Spa in Hyannis.

This year’s keynote speaker was Patricia Mieszala, RN, who presented “Youth Firesetting and Intervention Programs – Keeping Your Ball in Flight.” Mieszala is the president and founder of Burn Concerns National Consulting and Educational Services and has provided educational services, training, and project reviews to burn care facilities, foundations, and fire service organizations throughout the U.S. and Canada since 1981. She provides training to multidisciplinary audiences, helping communities to better understand youth firesetting and arson. She helps communities develop intervention programs to provide fire safety education and referrals for counseling as needed. Patricia will describe prevention of, and intervention in, youth firesetting behavior.

On the second day of the conference, Lt. Robert Feeney of the Onset Fire Department presented “Life Safety Lessons Learned from the 4th Deadliest Nightclub Fire in History,” a personal account of his experiences as a survivor of the 2003 Station Nightclub fire in West Warwick, Rhode Island. Life is full of defining moments, and because of his experience in the Station Nightclub fire, he became a fire sprinkler advocate. He testifies and speaks across the country on the importance of fire sprinklers.

Attendees also heard from Cynthia Ouellette, who served for seven years as the coordinator for the Department of Fire Services’ Fire Data and Public Education Unit. She addressed the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on public fire and life safety education in general and the Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) program in particular. 


Massachusetts State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey (left) presented the 2021 Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year Award to Danvers Fire Captain James Brooks (third from left). With him are Danvers Fire Chief Robert Amerault, Danvers Deputy Chief Brian Barry, Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier, and Centerville-Osterville-Marstons Mills Fire Chief Michael Winn, president of the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts.


Media Contact for Danvers Fire Captain Receives 2021 Fire & Life Safety Educator of the Year Award

Department of Fire Services 

The Department of Fire Services helps keep communities safe. We provide firefighter training, public education, fire prevention, code enforcement, licensing, fire investigation, hazardous material response, and emergency response.

Executive Office of Public Safety and Security 

EOPSS is responsible for the policy development and budgetary oversight of its secretariat agencies, independent programs, and several boards which aid in crime prevention, homeland security preparedness, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors in the Commonwealth.
Image credits:  Captain James Brooks (Department of Fire Services)