Kim.O'Brien.Graduation

Firefighter Kim O’Brien. Photo John Anderson.

Auburn Fire Rescue Chief Stephen M. Coleman Jr. announced the graduation of Firefighter/Paramedic Kim O’Brien from the 227th class of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program on May 1, 2015. “This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said Chief Coleman. The ceremony took place at the Department of Fire Services in Stow, MA.

Today’s firefighters do far more than fight fires. They are the first responders to chemical and environmental emergencies, ranging from the suspected presence of carbon monoxide to a gas leak. They may be called to rescue someone 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. Firefighters also test and maintain their equipment including self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), hydrants, hoses, power tools, and vehicles.

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, nine-week program for municipal firefighters involves classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training, and live firefighting practice.

To graduate, students must demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation, and fire attack. Upon successful completion of the Recruit Program, all students have met National Fire Protection Association Standard 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.