Saturday, January 29, 2011

Training, Conduct Stressed At Firefighter's Grad

Story and photos by Lisa E. Crowley
BROCKTON—Ten firefighters, eight from Brockton and two from Bridgewater, earned their pins and became full-fledged members of their department during a graduation ceremony Friday at the Shaw’s Center.
During the ceremony Brockton Fire Chief Richard Francis recalled his 32 years on the Brockton Fire Department, noting many things have changed since he joined the force including the 12-week training the graduates endured at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, better equipment for safety and protection and aid with the pain and suffering that comes from the loss of victims and fellow firefighters when a blaze becomes a tragedy.
“Today, you have stress counselors. Back then we had pizza and beer,” Francis said, getting a laugh from the estimated 175 graduates, family, and friends who attended the ceremony held at the Shaw’s Center, Friday, Jan. 28.
Many of the new graduates received their pins from their mothers, fathers--several who are also fighters—wives and children. The graduates who will work in Brockton are: William Curtin, Christopher Matchem, Brandon Hill, Andrew Wisocky, Charles Hayward, Sean McSheffrey, David Owen and Alexandre Souto. Bridgewater members: Christopher Hamilton and Casey Florence.
Attending the graduation was state Fire Marshal Stephen Coan, joked that former Brockton Fire Chief Kenneth Galligan—who retired last year and whose name Coan pretended he could not remember--in sometimes held graduation in one of Brockton’s fire stations where truck fumes and ringing bells often disrupted the proceedings.
“You’ve brought it up a notch,” Coan said to new Chief Francis.
On a serious side, Coan said modern technology and equipment has reduced fatalities and injuries, but since January the state has already had seven people die in blazes and encouraged members to continue Brockton’s tradition of exceptional training programs for its members and outreach safety presentations in the schools and community.
“Not many departments have shown the commitment to training than Brockton has,” Coan said. “You are one of the very, very, best,” he said.
Before ending the program with a 5-minute video created by Brockton Capt. Kevin Galligan and the Fireman’s Prayer, Francis warned the new members that being a firefighter is an excellent career where members are respected in the community, but also can be “ego-enhancing” and because members are civil servants everything they do is seen and watched.
“You are under a magnifying glass 24-7,” Francis said.
Click here to read BrocktonPost's article about the new hires in Brockton...
Click here for BrocktonPost's article about grant money to buy Brockton's new and veteran firefighters new turnout gear...

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