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4 academy grads join town firefighters, including first African-American

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State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier have announced the graduation of 39 firefighters from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy (MFA).

Four join the Arlington Fire Department. They are, from left in photo, Justin Brown, Matthew Shea, Daniel Jefferson and Stephen Leveroni. Brown is the town's first African-American firefighter, and Jefferson is the son of Bob Jefferson, the retired chief, Chief Kevin Kelley has confirmed.

The June 24 graduates completed the 50-day career recruit firefighting training program at two campuses: Class No. 302, including those from Arlington, trained at the Stow campus, and Class No. BW20 trained at the Bridgewater campus.

“First responders are on the front lines protecting their communities, and these newest firefighters are needed now more than ever,” said Ostroskey in a June 24 news release.

“The rigorous professional training they’ve received provides them with the physical, mental and technical skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely.”

The class at Stow encompassed 23 graduates from these 11 departments: Arlington, Attleboro, Chelsea, Concord, Fitchburg, Lexington, Medway, North Andover, Tewksbury, Watertown and Westwood.

The class at Bridgewater encompassed 16 graduates from these 11 departments: Attleboro, Brewster, Cambridge, Canton, Foxborough, Hull, Orleans, Sandwich, Walpole, Waltham and Yarmouth.

Basic firefighter skills

Students receive classroom training in all basic firefighter skills. They practice first under nonfire 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.

On 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. 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, which marked its 50th anniversary last year, provides recruit and in-service training at three separate campuses and has graduated nearly 14,000 recruit, call and volunteer firefighters in more than 430 classes.

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This news announcement was published Saturday, June 25, 2022.

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