Submitted by John Guilfoil on behalf of the Bedford Fire Department
Bedford Fire Chief David Grunes is excited to welcome firefighter/paramedic Chris Gonzalez to the Bedford Fire Department following his graduation from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy Friday afternoon.
Gonzalez is one of 23 graduates from the 231st class of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s 45-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program. A ceremony was held at the Department of Fire Services in Stow at 1:30 p.m. Friday.
He is the third graduate in a group of four paramedics hired in Bedford to assist with the department’s transition from to providing Basic Life Support (BLS) to Advanced Life Support (ALS) services to the community.
“This transition from BLS to ALS is a huge step and accomplishment for the department and will be extremely beneficial for the town,” said Chief Grunes. “It is imperative that we add skilled paramedics like firefighter Gonzalez to our team to make this switch successful.”
Beford will introduce the new paramedic program to the community in mid-September and will begin providing ALS on a part-time basis at that time as well. Current firefighters will be required to complete training, and future hires will need to be certified paramedics.
The intensive, nine-week state firefighting academy for municipal firefighters involves classroom instruction, physical fitness training, skills training and live firefighting practice.
Firefighters learned the basic skills they need to respond to fires including how to contain and control them, public fire education, hazardous material incident mitigation, flammable liquids, stress management, confined space rescue techniques and rappelling.
To graduate, firefighters were required to demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation and fire attack (ranging from mailbox fires to multiple-floor or multi-room structural fires).
“This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said Deputy State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey in a statement.
The remaining 23 graduates, all men, represent 14 fire departments in state: Ashland, Burlington, Devens, Easthampton, Lakeville, Melrose, Middleborough, North Attleboro, Northampton, Plainville, Westborough, Westfield, Weymouth and Woburn.