FURTHER PROGRESS MADE IN FIREMEN’S TRAINING PROGRAM
New Truck to Serve as a Mobile School Unit in Massachusetts
THROUGH the efforts of Assistant Director, M. Norcross Stratton of the Division of Vocational Education, Massachusetts Department of Education, Director R. O. Small, Commissioner Downey, the Committee of Fire Chiefs, and others, a new truck has been fully equipped and is being used as a traveling school for the State-wide program of Firemen training. This program is being conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Education, Vocational Division. The truck was started in service from the Brookline Fire Department’s training center at the January meeting of the Massachusetts Fire Department Instructors’ Association.
The new truck has been fitted out with up-to-date extinguishers, masks, spray nozzles, flood lights, and other fire-fighting accessories, which were all donated or loaned by concerns interested in this field of training, to add effectiveness to a program which has already won favorable national rating. Through the cooperation of Chief Allen, the truck is temporarily housed in Brookline where the equipment is being installed. Only up-to-date tools and appliances are to be included in the permanent equipment. A committee of Chiefs will consider and approve all equipment to be carried on the truck.
An Assistant Supervisor of TeacherTraining, who will specialize in the field of firemen training and other public service occupations, has been appointed to assist Mr. Stratton in the firemen training program. A competitive examination for ths position was given. The successful candidate. Mr. Louis J. Gaetani, has served ten years as a trade school instructor and for several years as a special teacher-training instructor and conference leader. He joined the Vocational Division staff on February 1, 1940.
The Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Club continues its interest in and its support of the training school program. There are now forty-eight trained drillmasters who give their time and energy in conducting classes and assisting with details of the work. The Fire Marshal’s office, the Forest Warden Service, the Insurance Exchanges, and many representatives from special fields of work related to the fire service have contributed to the program.
In 1933, the Massachusetts Fire Chiefs Club adopted a plan to provide fundamental training for as many as possible of the firemen in Massachusetts. A State-wide program in zone areas was established, organized, and administered by the Vocational Division, Massachusetts State Department of Education, advised by a committee of fire chiefs and fire prevention officials. Drill instructors from all parts of the state are detailed by their respective chiefs to serve on the zone school staff. This group of men meet regularly with supervisors from the Department of Education to deal with organization and teaching problems arising in the work of the zone schools.
State Department officials and chiefs interested in the program have been asked to assist in organizing educational programs in Vermont and Maine. Two classes were conducted in Vermont in 1939 by Massachusetts drillmasters. We have been requested to go to Maine later this month to stimulate the program in that state.
A plan for maximum use of the “Demonstration Unit,” as the truck is called, is being worked out. The zone school organization and plan includes:
- Training of local drill instructors in teaching techniques as applied to firemen training enterprises. (This is done in groups for men assigned by Chiefs of the several local departments as drill instructors for the respective departments.)
- Zone school center classes train firemen assigned by their Chiefs to such classes from towns within the zone areas. Instruction in those zone classes is related to practical fire-fighting evolutions and technical problems. The instructors are officers of permanent departments who are members of our zone school staff of instructors.
- Mutual aid area classes train groups in mutual aid practices. Wherever departments of a given area maintain a policy of mutual aid among themselves, the services of a zone school officer instructor are available for the particular group.
- Local classes, confined to the members of a single department, are conducted upon request by the chief of the department. Drill and a study of local fire hazards constitute work in such classes. Zone school staff instructors are assigned to these classes.
- Assistance to the Chief in matters such as inventory, purchase of equipment, and training programs is rendered upon an individual basis when requested. Zone school staff instructors are assigned.
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Both the army and navy have had non-commissioned officers, in charge of fire fighting in government military reservations, in membership in zone school classes. Massachusetts zone school staff members have been stimulated and helped by work similar in adjoining states. During 1938-1939, fourteen zone classes were conducted with a total enrollment of 368 men. Special classes were conducted at approximately 48 towns and villages with a total enrollment of about 1,512 men.
To date five thousand certificates for completion of units of instruction in the zone school areas have been issued to firemen in 332 of the 355 Massachusetts cities and towns. In the main, the service has centered in the towns of the state where adequate training is not available.