Above and Beyond: Training never ends for Island volunteersby jmaloni
by Ray Pauley
Public Information Officer, Grand Island Fire Co.
For the past several months, 40 Grand Island firefighters and others from as far away as Toronto have given up Sundays with their families to attend all-day emergency medical technician training sessions at Grand Island Fire Co. headquarters in order to upgrade their professional skills so they can better serve their communities.
Senior instructor Lance Kohn reports that this Erie County Emergency Medical Services-sponsored course covered 16 weeks, which totaled 128 hours, plus 10 hours of clinical time. This lifesaving training was completed on Dec. 16 when a New York state certification exam was held.
According to GIFC Assistant Chief Matt Osinski, who is the fire company's training coordinator, a total of 113 drills were held during 2010. Special training for fire cadets and new recruits was added to regular sessions held on Monday evenings, Saturday mornings and other days as necessary. Basic and advanced EMS, drivers training, auto extrication, engine operations, live fire operations, forcible entry, and water rescue were some of the hands-on drills included in this busy schedule. Certain individuals were also privileged to participate in other unique programs, such as firefighter boot camp, which covered several weeks.
When a new recruit class enters the GIFC during 2011, training requirements during the first year will demand a major commitment in time and effort. Good luck to these aspiring firefighters and medics who will join the ranks of fire service volunteers, dedicated to a lifetime of community protection.