Firefighters from Groveland, West Newbury and Merrimac were among 40 graduates of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Call/Volunteer Recruit Firefighter Training Class 91.
Groveland firefighters Christen Grugnale, Matthew Guy and Robert Hoffman, West Newbury’s Andrea Ball and Merrimac’s William Howard were awarded certificates of completion on Tuesday, June 29, at the Department of Fire Services Stow campus.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier said 11 of the 40 are women, representing more than a quarter of the graduates and are the largest number in any Recruit Training Class since the Academy was created in 1971.
“First responders are on the front lines protecting their communities and these newest firefighters are needed now more than ever. We have taken greater advantage of online learning technology, reduced group training size to increase social distancing, implemented screening, and required mask-wearing to keep our instructors and students as safe as possible during these uncertain times,” said Deputy State Fire Marshal Fournier, who is the interim director. The Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, a division of the Department of Fire Services, offers this program, tuition-free.
The Call/Volunteer Firefighter Recruit Training program is unique in that it delivers a standard recruit training curriculum, meeting national standards, on nights and weekends to accommodate the schedule of firefighters in suburban and rural areas. Bringing the training closer to firefighters means more can participate. Pre-pandemic it already used an online eBlended format that has students doing more work outside of class and taking quizzes online. This allows students more time to practice training skills with instructors and to better control their own workloads and time commitments.