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Training firefighters is serious business

Training firefighters is serious business, whether teaching them how to drive a fire truck, put out a fire, force open a door, search for victims, or attend to any of the myriad other tasks required when responding to a fire, not to mention keeping themselves and others safe while doing it all.

Captain Andy Nazak, Officer in Charge of Fire Training for the Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, heads a team of a dozen instructors who oversee training for the department. Every year, they organize a four-month-long session of classes to teach around 15 firefighters the skills and knowledge base required to obtain Firefighter 1, Firefighter 2, and Hazardous Materials certification.

It takes a significant amount of time to achieve certification in all three areas—160 hours for Firefighter 1, 57 hours for Firefighter 2, and 32 hours for Hazardous Materials, for a total of 249 hours. Classes are held Tuesday and Thursday nights, with hands-on training every Saturday and Sunday, f...

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