SOMERS, N.Y. – The County Department of Emergency Services (DES) graduated 128 new volunteer firefighters on Thursday evening, including Jack Foley, Peter Johnson, Lorenzo Rossi, David Orr, Alex Greczylo, Nicholas Maenza, Dylan Mechanic, Craig Schriro and Michelle Sheehan, all of Somers.
“Obviously it takes a great deal of special knowledge to be a firefighter,” said County Executive Rob Astorino at the graduation ceremony. “More importantly, it takes a special kind of person – the kind of person who puts his neighbors and community first; the kind of person who puts himself or herself in harm’s way to save life and property.
“I know that many of you came here to tackle your training after putting in a hard day at work or at school. So I thank you for the commitment you have shown to your training and for the service you are prepared to give to your communities.”
The new firefighters trained for seven months at the DES training facility in Valhalla. The 87-hour course covered such topics as firefighter safety, fire behavior, personal protective equipment, self-contained breathing apparatus, building searches, forcible entry, ventilation, building construction, ropes and knots, rescue procedures, hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction, confined space safety and fire prevention practices.
And that is only the beginning. Firefighting #1 is the prerequisite for all additional fire training that firefighters receive.
Astorino pointed out that the training program was an excellent example of cooperative effort between the county and local towns and municipalities. “The county plays a key role in coordinating fire training in cooperation with local fire departments and in maintaining a top-notch training program,” he said. “I am grateful to the instructors from multiple fire departments who contributed their talents and expertise.”