FI Fire Department Congratulates 9 Members as NYS Firefighter 1 Grads

By Jane T. Ahrens

Beginning in April, 9 current and future members of the Fishers Island Fire Department entered into an extensive course known as Firefighter 1. The purpose of the 5-month course is to teach the basic principles of firefighting and fire safety and complete the New York State Firefighter Level 1 certification.

From April through September the 9 students completed the required 120 hours of studying, weekly quizzes followed by weekly exams, and testing coupled with hands-on training and various drills. The course, administered by Chief Dan Sicilian of the Suffolk County Fire Academy, culminated with a day in September at the Academy on Long Island in Yaphank, NY, where the candidates were tested in their proficiency in breathing apparatus, search and rescue, forced entry and ladder work.

Following this successful excursion, the class took a 150 question written exam which all 9 successfully passed. But they were not quite done…the program also included 7 hours of coursework in the National Incident Management System and 4 hours of Red Cross lifesaving and CPR.

The members of the class, all newly certified as NYS Firefighter 1, are Asst. Chief Jeff Edwards, Lt. Dirk Harris, Firefighters Ace Ahrens, Courtney Allen, Miguel Mego and Jared Toldo and newly elected FIFD members Matt Edwards, Drew Norton and Wes Walters.

The 9 graduates are very thankful to the Fishers Island Fire Department’s ‘seasoned’ volunteer members for taking the time to teach, mentor and assist them as they worked their way through the course, and the drills. And, to Catherine Edwards her support in organizing the course and keeping the participants informed and on schedule.

“This class had the highest averages during their course work and at their final exam of any other class I have administered. The long periods between the opportunities we had to meet shows their level of dedication to the material and to the fire service. I would be proud to crawl down the hallway with this class any day!” ~ DC Dan Sicilian

The Fishers Island Fire District sponsored the Firefighter I course offered through the Suffolk County Fire Academy (SCFA). The 5-month course was very comprehensive and a huge time commitment on the part of the eight student participants. The Island is grateful for their commitment and volunteerism.

Firefighter 1 students with instructors Sicilian and Edwards in April. L-R: Chief Dan Sicilian, Matt Edwards, Dirk Harris, Courtney Allan, Wes Walters, Jeff Edwards, Ace Ahrens, Jared Toldo, Miguel Mego, and Drew Norton with Bob Brooks.

SCFA instructor Chief Dan Sicilian arrived on Island to begin with a day and a half session on April 28-29 including lectures and hands-on experiences. Over the next 16 weeks (May-August), the trainees study 8 online courses (encompassing 21 chapters in the 1300+ page manual), with quizzes and exams every 2 weeks. This was coupled with drills and hands-on experiences to ready them for the trip to the Fire Academy on Long Island.
(Click any photo to see a larger version.)

Fire Training in the Pit, August 17, 2017photo credit Jane Ahrens

In early fall they traveled to Long Island for the September 8-10 weekend for hands-on training and testing at the Suffolk County Fire Academy facility.

Suffolk County Fire Academy, September 8, 2017photo credit Catherine Edwards

September 15-16 was set aside for exam prep and the Hazmat workshop, and in late September they took their final exam at the Fishers Island firehouse. Congratulations to all!

Congratulations to (left to right): Miguel, Dirk, Jeff, Jared, Wes, Matt, Courtney, Drew, and Ace!

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