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Athol Firefighter Perry among MFA graduates 

Published: 12/26/2018 12:36:12 PM
Modified: 12/26/2018 12:36:24 PM

STOW – Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA) Director David C. Evans announced the graduation of the 268th class of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s 50-day Career Recruit Firefighter Training Program on December 21. Derek Perry of the Athol Fire Department was among the graduates.

“This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said State Fire Marshal 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.

30 Graduates from 14 Fire Departments

The 30 graduates, one woman and 29 men, represent the 14 fire departments of Athol, Dennis, Easton, Hanson, Melrose, Milford, North Reading, Norwood, Plainville, Revere, Somerville, Springfield, Wayland and Winthrop.

Guest speaker was Athol Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Joseph Guarnera, M.Ed., CFO, EMT-IC. Chief Guarnera has more than 38 years of experience in the public safety field, 18 as a Mass. Firefighting Academy Instructor. He is also an instructor for the National Fire Academy where he also serves as chair of their Fire & Emergency Services Professional Development Committee. He holds a master’s degree in education and a baccalaureate degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts. He spoke to the graduates about how education and training are lifelong pursuits and graduation from the Academy was a first major step in their careers.

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.



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