Samuel Bird of the North Andover Fire Department was one of 23 students from 17 fire departments to graduate Friday from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.
Bird completed the 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program with Class 293 at the Stow campus. State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier announced the graduation. Besides North Andover, other departments represented in the class were Auburn, Braintree, Charlton, Clinton, Devens, Gloucester, Hopkinton, Middleton, Nantucket, Newton, Norfolk, Northborough, Plymouth, Reading, Tewksbury and Weston.
“This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said Ostroskey. Fournier, who is serving as the Academy director, added “First responders are on the frontlines protecting their communities, and these newest firefighters are needed now more than ever.”
The Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, a division of the Department of Fire Services, offers this program tuition-free.
In response to the pandemic, the Academy reorganized its 10-week curriculum to use online learning while ensuring plenty of practical skill experience on-campus with instructors. Students alternated between a virtual classroom and practical training on campus, using special safeguards and social distancing, to maximize learning opportunities while also reducing group sizes.