Catty firefighter completes training
Sixteen area volunteer fire departments added 26 firefighters to their ranks when the new firefighters completed a rigorous five-month course and received their certificates of completion June 19 at a ceremony held at the Lower Macungie Township Community Center.
Among them was Kayla Hein, of the Catasauqua Fire Department.
This was the ninth annual Bucks County Fire Academy course, held twice a week from January to May, at the Allentown Fire Academy at the Allentown Fire Department Mack Station, 1902 Lehigh St., near the Queen City Airport.
The 192-hour course is held in Lehigh County annually for area volunteers, so they do not have to travel to Bucks County Fire Academy in Doylestown, more than an hour each way. This was once the case until Lower Macungie Fire Department Chief Dave Nosal initiated the arrangement in 2009 for the Bucks County unit to come to Allentown. Nearly 300 Lehigh County area volunteers have received the local training since the program was initiated.
The Public Safety Training unit at the Bucks County Community College provides training for first responder units in 11 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania with national- and state-level fire, rescue, emergency medical and hazardous materials training and professional certification. The certification is portable and recognized by fire departments across the country.
The firefighting skills training included building construction; basic interior firefighting skills; fire behavior; forcible entry; personal safety equipment; self-contained breathing apparatus; ropes and knots; search and rescue; vehicle fires; wildland fires; and hazardous materials.
In addition to the 112 hours in basic firefighting, the volunteers learned lifesaving and first aid skills, as well as how to recognize, evaluate and deal with hazardous material incidents. The hazardous materials training covered events as small as an antifreeze spill at a motor vehicle accident scene to incidents as intimidating as weapons of mass destruction.
Lead instructor for the training was Lt. Christopher Groller, of the Allentown Fire Department. He was assisted by several other state-certified trainers.
Recognized by instructors as the most outstanding student in the course was Jeffrey Broadhurst, of the Weisenberg Volunteer Fire Department. Jason Jesmain, of the Emmaus Fire Department, was recognized with a spirit of leadership commendation.
Commencement speaker Douglas Snyder, a field supervisor with the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy, challenged the graduates to “always strive for the next level of training. If you get to the point where you think you know everything about firefighting, it’s time to get out of the fire service.”