Robidoux Outstanding Among Firefighter Recruits
Sep 25, 2020 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
Firefighter Joseph Robidoux was competitively selected by the instructors of the MA Firefighting Academy (MFA) Recruit Class #284 as the recipient of the Richard N. Bangs Award, which is given to an outstanding student. This selection is based upon his achievements in both academic exams and practical skills.
The recruit firefighter training curriculum is designed to educate, train and evaluate students in the basic skills of the firefighting profession. The course is both academically and physically demanding. “Completing the course is an accomplishment worthy of recognition. In each class there is one student selected who has excelled in the training program, and this student is named as the outstanding student of the class,” said MFA Director David C. Evans. A copy of this award has been placed in Robidoux’s official student record at the academy.
Two other classes—Class #S16 and Class #BW03—graduated from the academy along with Class #284. State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and Director Evans announced that the three classes had completed the MFA’s fifty-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program. The students from all three classes gathered at the Stow campus on Sept. 11 to participate in a 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony and to receive their certificates of completion.
“Today, 42 new firefighters return to their departments ready to launch careers. Today, we remember and honor so many firefighters who ended their careers 19 years ago. Firefighting is an inherently dangerous profession and one of service and sacrifice. Training is how we reduce the danger as much as possible and prepare for a life of service,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.
“First responders are on the frontlines protecting their communities, and these newest firefighters are needed more now than ever. We have taken advantage of technology, reduced class size to increase social distancing, implemented daily screening, and required mask wearing to keep our instructors and students as safe as possible during these uncertain times,” said MFA Director Evans. The MFA, a division of the Department of Fire Services, offers this program, tuition-free.
Today’s firefighters do far more than fight fires. They are the first ones called to respond to chemical and environmental emergencies, ranging from the suspected presence of carbon monoxide to a gas leak. They may be called to rescue a child 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. They test and maintain their equipment.
At the MFA, 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, to contain and to control them. They also receive training in public fire education, hazardous material incident mitigation, flammable liquids, stress management, confined space rescue techniques, and rappelling. The intensive, 10-week program for municipal firefighters involves classroom instruction, physical fitness training, firefighter skills training, and live firefighting practice.
In response to the pandemic, students alternated between the virtual classroom for two weeks, on campus for practical training (using special safeguards and social distancing) for four weeks, back to the virtual classroom for a week, returning to campus for two weeks and finishing the final week in the virtual classroom.
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.