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Locals participate in first 100-hour firefighter training course 

  • Volunteers enrolled in the first ever Monadnock Area Fire School pose for a picture. The firefighter one class is about 100 hours instead of the federally mandated 240-hour course.  Courtesy photo

  • A volunteer enrolled in the first ever Monadnock Area Fire School receives hands-on training. The firefighter one class is about 100 hours instead of the federally mandated 240-hour course.  Courtesy photo

  • Two volunteers enrolled in the first ever Monadnock Area Fire School receives hands-on training. The firefighter one class is about 100 hours instead of the federally mandates 240-hour course.  Courtesy photo—

  • Volunteers enrolled in the first ever Monadnock Area Fire School receives hands-on training. The firefighter one class is about 100 hours instead of the federally mandates 240-hour course.  Courtesy photo—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Friday, November 24, 2017

A newly developed firefighter one course aimed at training rural volunteers in a shorter time period than is federally recognized is slated to graduate its first class later this month. 

The Monadnock Area Fire School held at the Greenfield Fire Department began on Sept. 7. Students enrolled completed 100 hours instead of the federally recognized 240 hours. Greenfield Fire Chief David Hall said the curriculum was trimmed down because small-town departments are finding that volunteers are unwilling or unable to commit to 240 hours of training. 

“A lot of people can’t go to classes for six months and put their life on hold to do this (become a volunteer firefighter),” Hall said.

Recognizing the problem, Hall said fire chiefs in the area asked the Monadnock Area Fire Chiefs Association to look into developing a new, shorter entry-level firefighter class. Hall said the shorter course culled out things like high-rise training (because there aren’t any high-rise buildings in rural areas) and hazmat management (because smaller towns don’t deal with hazmat material.)

In New Hampshire, Hall said there is no minimum mandatory training requirement for volunteer firefighters. He said most small towns do require the state approved 16-hour class, which covers protective clothing and air-pack management. Hall said chiefs in the area recognized a need for a class between the 16-hour class and the 240-hour one.

Hall and Deputy Chief of Lyndeborough Don Cole built the 100-hour program using modules out of the fire one curriculum.

The courses began on Sept. 7. Hall said volunteers received both classroom and hands-on training. The course covered things like firefighter safety and survival, breathing apparatus and protective clothing, fire behavior, building construction, and search and rescue, to name a few.

“The chiefs felt that these modules constituted the necessary training to develop a knowledgeable and safe rural area firefighters,” Hall wrote in a press release.

Hancock Fire Chief Thomas Bates said the town has three volunteers enrolled in the class.

“In Hancock, we have firefighters with an established career and family life. They want to help the community and this training program gives them the means they need to be a knowledgeable volunteer firefighter,” Bates said in the release. 

Hall said 13 students representing six towns enrolled. Hall said 11 will graduate from the course on Nov. 30 at the Greenfield Meetinghouse.

Harrisville Fire Chief Wayne Derosia said the program is “exactly what we need.”

“This class is focused on the needs of the rural firefighter,” Derosia said. “What it doesn’t include is a lot of hours of training that is of no use to us out there.”

Bates said he hopes it will be offered on an annual basis. 

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com.