Haverhill Firefighters Receive High Voltage Training From State Fire Academy

The Haverhill Fire Department received high voltage awareness training from the Massachusetts Fire Academy on March 26, 2019. (WHAV News photograph)

Haverhill’s firefighters are ready to take control of high-energy situations—in more ways than one. On Tuesday, the city’s Water Street station hosted the first in a series of four-hour classes that all of Haverhill’s 95 firefighters will eventually receive centered around high voltage awareness.

WHAV tagged along as Chief William F. Laliberty and nearly two-dozen firefighters—including Haverhill rookie Robert Miles—received three hours of classroom instruction and an hour-long demonstration. Laliberty welcomes the opportunity to participate in such programs.

“We train all the time. We re-train all the time. We need to keep our skills sharp,” Laliberty told WHAV. “This is an opportunity to take training offered by the Academy to give our guys a reminder if they’ve had it before, and if it’s the first time they’re having it, it’s an introduction to electricity awareness so we keep them safe as well.”

The impact session provided to Haverhill’s firefighters—including the 10 that serve Rocks Village in a volunteer capacity—involves a subject that is, as Laliberty tells WHAV, well…current.

We treat everything as if it’s energized and take steps to protect not only the public but ourselves,” he said. “That’s what this class is doing—giving them the awareness training so that when you come upon an incident like this, they can take the necessary steps to protect everybody.”

Recalling one instance where firefighters had to keep their distance from one another and involved parties on an accident scene to maintain safety, Laliberty told WHAV 33,000 volts of energy is present when a car hits a telephone pole, for example.

Laliberty said his team’s awareness training was put into practice recently when he was forced to separate firefighters from a neighbor trying to get their attention from across downed power lines.

Tuesday’s sessions were offered by Massachusetts Firefighting Academy staff Donald Poole of Rockport and retired Lawrence Fire Chief Richard Shafer.

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