GLOUCESTER — Chief Eric Smith reports that the Gloucester Fire Department is taking part in an aerial ladder truck training.
All 48 Gloucester firefighter ranked personnel have been divided into three separate groups that either took the two day training this week on Tuesday and Thursday, or will take the training later this month on Tuesday, Oct. 6 and Thursday, Oct 8 or on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and Thursday, Oct. 15.
The training is being conducted at the Halyard Apartment complex on School House Road, which is currently under construction.
The training was originally scheduled to take place this spring but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and is being facilitated by the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services. Upon completion, firefighters will earn their Aerial Operator certification.
The Aerial Operator course is partly funded by a $424,000 Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) awarded to the department in 2019, which will also help fund Emergency Vehicle Operator and Pump Operator trainings in compliance with National Fire Protection Agency standards. The Emergency Vehicle Operator training is scheduled for later this month and early November, and the Pump Operator training is tentatively scheduled for November, March and April.
The grant paid for 90% of the Aerial Operator course, and the City of Gloucester paid the remaining 10%.
“This training is only possible because of the grant we received, thanks to the hard work of our lead grant writer, Capt. Jamie Santos, and Firefighters Alison DeMuele and Sander Schultz, who also assisted in applying for these funds,” Chief Smith said. “Mayor Romeo Theken and the City have also been tremendously supportive, and it’s training opportunities like this that allow us to continuously better our services and provide the best possible response in an emergency. The support from our State and Federal elected officials also goes a long way, and we cannot thank all that helped enough.”
The two day Aerial Operator program requires 16 hours of training, the Emergency Vehicle Operator-Advanced program involves 16 hours of training and the Pump Operator program involves 40 hours of training.
The Division of Local Services does not mandate that all fire departments train firefighters as emergency vehicle, pump and aerial ladder operators, but it is a standard the Gloucester Fire Department has long sought to achieve and meets NFPA training recommendations.