Two Haverhill firefighters and one from Lawrence were among Friday’s graduates from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, which also celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Andrew Hastings and Joshua Zaino, both of the Haverhill Fire Department, and Alberto Acosta of the Lawrence Fire Department were part of Class 295, graduated at the Stow campus. The campus was also the Academy’s first location and serves as the Department of Fire Services’ primary headquarters. State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts Firefighting Academy leadership took time out to observe the 50th birthday.
“We take them for granted today, but uniform standards for fire service training were still a new idea 50 years ago,” Ostroskey said. “From humble beginnings at a single location, we now have three operational campuses across the state, teaching strategies and tactics that have continued to evolve and improve during five decades of professional instruction.”
Established by an act of the legislature on Oct. 7, 1971, the Academy grew out of what had been known as the Central Massachusetts Fire Training Academy. It currently provides recruit and in-service training at three separate campuses and has graduated more than 13,000 recruit, call and volunteer firefighters in more than 420 classes.
Students receive classroom training in all basic firefighter skills. They practice first under non-fire 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. Upon 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.