First Responder Training offered by the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy
The Department of Public Health is responsible for establishing all emergency medical service (EMS) training requirements for First Responders in Massachusetts. These requirements can be found in the 105 Code of the Massachusetts Regulation (CMR) 171.000. The criteria in this regulation outlines that First Responders initially have up to one year to complete these training requirements and must also complete a refresher training program at least once every three years.
Last year, it was identified that many students going through the Call/Volunteer Recruit Training Program had no medical training. This occurred because many students attending this class actually started the fire service on training day number one in this program. One of the challenges this created was many of these Students were initially ineligible to become certified Firefighter I/II as First Responder training is a prerequisite for this certification.
Although 105 Code of Massachusetts Regulation (CMR) 171.000 allows First Responders to complete this training within the first year of employment, many were not taking their certification exams until months after completion of their recruit firefighter training program. In addition, many Departments struggled to find First Responder training that was only needed for one or two new employees.
A survey was sent out to all Call/Volunteer Fire Chief’s last spring looking to get direct feedback from these organizations about the need for this type of training. Overwhelmingly, it was reported back that this was a training topic that many Departments had identified as a need. This information and feedback helped to formulate and develop the initial First Responder training program ever offered by the Massachusetts Fire Academy.
The first class was delivered at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Stow on
September 23, 2017. This program is eighteen-hours in duration and includes topics such as
medical & trauma assessments, cardiac & respiratory emergencies, childbirth, splinting, pediatric emergencies, epi-pen and narcan administration. The program is taught by experienced fire and emergency medical service Academy Instructors utilizing classroom lecture, video presentation and practical based training. There is no cost for the training and at the end of the program students receive a certificate of completion that is valid for 3 years. The program meets the requirements in CMR 171.000 (excluding CPR & AED) and the Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS) Administrative Requirement 2-100 dated December 15, 2016.
A prerequisite to be enrolled in the training program is all students must submit a
current and valid Healthcare Provider CPR/AED card that is good at least through the end of
the training program. A copy demonstrating proof of completion will be requested with the
application in order to be considered for the class. The target audience for this training
program is Call/Volunteer Firefighters who either need the initial training or for those who
need the refresher training.
Although this specific training is a requirement through State regulation, EMS training
and response is a significant component of the fire service mission. Fire service personnel are an integral part of any EMS delivery model and the goal of this First Responder training program is to help complement these services. The Department of Fire Services, through the Massachusetts Fire Academy, will continue to work with all partners in an effort to provide the highest quality of programs and classes to all fire service personnel. We are extremely excited and proud of this current initiative and hope it supports many departments across the state.
We encourage everyone to look at the online course catalog on the Department of Fire Services website to request this training program.
Christopher W. Norris has been a member of the Westhampton Fire Department since April
1994. He has served in numerous capacities in the organization up until his appointment to
Fire Chief in January 2007. Chief Norris is also currently serving as the Coordinator for the Call/Volunteer Recruit Training Program.
Christopher W. Norris has been a member of the Westhampton Fire Department since April 1994. He has served in numerous capacities in the organization up until his appointment to Fire Chief in January 2007. Chief Norris is also currently serving as the Coordinator for the Call/Volunteer Recruit Training Program.
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