When Rick told me what his plans were for the new FIREGROUND360° website I immediately thought what a great idea, but when he asked if "I" would consider submitting something I thought, he was out of his mind!
Training, Certification and Credentialing are three very critical pieces to fire service training here in Massachusetts. We are very fortunate to have a great state fire academy in Stow and even more fortunate that it will soon include another campus in Springfield.
No matter if you are a volunteer, call, or career firefighter, training is the key to being the best that you can be. We have available to us a call/volunteer firefighter I/II program, as well as the career recruit program, both run by the fire academy. There is also the Hampshire County Fire Defense Association program for those of you in Hampshire County who need to fulfill the basics to safely begin firefighting. The fire academy runs many other programs that will further improve your knowledge as you progress through the fire service.
The next key piece to your professional development is the certification program. The Department of Fire Services offers certification in many different levels such as Firefighter I + II, Fire Officer, Fire Instructor, etc. By committing time to sit for a class and take a certification exam, you are showing your dedication to not only yourself, but to your fire service family. Nothing makes me happier as a chief than to see members taking the initiative to gain certification in the fire service.
The final piece to the puzzle is credentialing. Recently Massachusetts has instituted two new programs for the credentialing of Fire Inspectors and Fire Chiefs. These programs require a commitment by the individuals seeking to be credentialed to not only take the initial training, but to complete continuing education hours much like EMT’s are required to do. They will be required to submit an application every two years to retain the credentials. One of the biggest reasons for this new Fire Chief system is to ensure only qualified people assume the role. Sadly there are no requirements for a person to be a Fire Chief; however there is a minimum requirement to be a Police Chief.
Training is just like practicing for a sport or playing an instrument and it is really summed up by my favorite adage...
“Perfect practice makes perfect.”
Stay safe and remember EVERYONE GOES HOME.
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Dave Mottor began his fire service journey in 1983 as a member of the Bondsville Fire Department. In 1984 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force as a Fire Protection Specialist. After basic firefighting school he was assigned to the 21st Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Protection Flight in Anchorage Alaska where he remained until March of 1988. Dave returned to Western Mass and the Bondsville Fire Department until 1990 when he moved to Easthampton. He was hired as a civilian firefighter at Westover ARB in March of 1988 and remained there until March 1994. In June of 1990 he returned to the military as a member of the 439th Civil Engineering Squadron Fire Protection Flight until retirement in 2009 at the rank of E-9, as the military fire chief at Westover. During his reserve career he had many deployments with the highlight being deploying to Kuwait following the terrorist attacks in 2001. Dave served as the Deputy Fire Chief overseeing 2 fire stations and 33 firefighters. Chief Mottor joined the Easthampton Fire Department in 1990 as a call firefighter and was appointed full time in 1994. He was appointed fire chief in 2009. Dave is a member of the Board of Directors for the Fire Chiefs Association of Massachusetts as well as the current Vice President of the Hampshire County Fire Defense Association.