The Watertown Fire Department announced the graduation of Firefighter James O’Connell from the Massachusetts Fire Academy on Jan. 9.
The Fire Department announcement said: “Please join us in congratulating Firefighter O’Connell on his graduation from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy today in Stow, MA. Firefighter O’Connell will be assigned to Groups 3 upon his return this week.”
The State Fire Marshal’s office sent out the following details about the Fire Academy:
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Director Jeffrey P. Winn announced the graduation of 24 firefighters from the 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program.
“First responders are on the frontlines protecting their communities, and these newest firefighters are needed now more than ever,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “The rigorous professional training they’ve received provides them with the physical, mental, and technical skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely.”
The graduating firefighters of Class #307 will represent the fire departments of Boxborough, Chelsea, Douglas, Eastham, Hingham, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynnfield, Medford, Nantucket, Natick, North Attleboro, Northborough, Reading, Walpole, Watertown, and Winthrop.
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 the 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.
Today’s Firefighters Do Far More than Fight Fires
Today’s firefighters do far more than fight fires. They train to respond to all types of hazards and emergencies. They are the first ones called to respond to chemical and environmental emergencies, ranging from the suspected presence of carbon monoxide to fentanyl overdoses or 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, including the latest science of fire behavior and suppression tactics, from certified fire instructors. They also receive training in public fire education, hazardous material incident mitigation, flammable liquids, stress management, and self-rescue techniques. The intensive, 10-week program for municipal firefighters involves classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training, and live firefighting practice.
The MFA provides recruit and in-service training for Massachusetts firefighters at campuses in Stow, Springfield, and Bridgewater. To date, about 14,000 firefighters have graduated in more than 450 classes.