16 Firefighter I and II students on their way to licensed status

Sun, 06/09/2024 - 10:15am

    ST. GEORGE — The day’s introduction came with safety directives: If you feel ill or faint…, if there is a mass evacuation…. (immediately seek out the Waldoboro EMT on duty; muster next to the gear shed). On the side, a half dozen bottles of insect repellent advertised the potential for bug interference.

    But having just gone through 28 once- and twice-per week classes, for a total of 140 hours, 37 textbook chapters and quizzes, two written State tests, and, still to come, a day of hands-on testing, the 16 students in the recent Firefighter 1 and 2 class weren’t walking away.

    June 8’s burn training in St. George were a major part of why they’d signed up in the first place. They were willing to take on the challenges associated with wild, heavy hoses, propane fires, and interior flames.

    To respond when the call for help comes.

    These men and women, ranging in ages from 17 to 50, hail from a varied background. They represent high school students, boat builders, Coast Guard, a hospital community coordinator, CNA, post office, construction, town employees, business owners, and others who are full time EMS providers and firefighters. Among them were junior firefighters, 17 years of age and won’t be able to use their FD licenses in the real sense until the age of 18. But, when that day arrives, they’ll be ready.

    Their tuition is $500 each, and for insurance purposes, students must be sponsored by a fire department to participate in Knox Fire Training Academy training. Sending departments this year were: Appleton Fire, St George Fire and Rescue, Camden Fire, South Thomaston Fire and Rescue, Vinalhaven Fire and Rescue, Topsham Fire and Rescue, Nobleboro Fire, Rockport Fire and Rescue, Northport Fire and Rescue, Owls Head Fire.

    “Like every fire scene requires the support of multiple agency's, so does training the firefighters,” said St. George Firefighter Mike Lunt. “We all must support each other.”

    Getting more firefighters onto the frontlines requires hands-on support from the seasoned firefighters in the region. The June 8 training exercise was a culmination of the experiences of more than twenty instructors from Rockland, St George, South Thomaston, Owls Head, Thomaston, Appleton, Camden Fire, Hope, Union Fire, Maine Fire Marshals, Maine Forrest Service, and Knox Regional Communications. Maritime Energy donated the propane.

    Next week, June 15, when the students go to Ellsworth for their skills tests, another large contingency of instructors, and evaluators from Maine Fire Service Institute, will meet with them. 

    They’ll be ready.


    The Knox County Fire Training Academy will be offering a Firefighter One and Two program in 2025, beginning in January. 


    Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com