The first five Firefighter/EMT recruits have completed their EMT training and have headed to the 10-week State Fire Academy this week, the first wave of a workforce that looks to transform the Fire Service at the beginning of next year.
Fire Chief Tony Carli said the recruits are moving through their training and he hopes that by the first of the year, the new in-house ambulance service will be operational – though he said he is still working with the Fire Union to negotiate that change.
“We had five start the academy this week and we’re really working hard on this,” said the chief. “We have another five going in August and four in October and the remainder in November. We hope to have things operational at the start of the year, and that’s what we’re shooting for.”
Already, 13 of the 18 new hires have finished their training with Cataldo Ambulance to be EMTs, and 11 of the 13 have passed their required EMT certification tests from the state.
Many are currently in training around the Fire Stations on certain off days, as they do ride-alongs with Cataldo and wait for their date to come at the Fire Academy.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he has been excited to see the recruits starting their journey.
“A new chapter is just beginning for all of our recruits,” he said. “Thirteen of our recruits have successfully completed their training with our partners at Cataldo EMS and will begin their internal training with our members. They will rotate through the next couple of weeks through each fire station and fire prevention office to learn the daily operations of our department. I look forward to having them train alongside our members. Keep an eye out for some new faces around our community.”
Earlier this month, at a Special Meeting, the City Council approved a $250,000 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) expenditure for buying the first new ambulance. That came after a contentious discussion between the Council, Chief Carli and Union President Craig Hardy. In the end, the Council voted 8-2 to approve the plan – virtually clearing the lane for implementation by the start of 2022.
“I thank the City Council for approving that and we’re moving forward on it,” he said. “We hope to start negotiations with the union on the addition of the ambulance…”
•Not in Favor of Eliminating a Station
Chief Carli didn’t respond earlier this month on the Municipal Services Fire Study recommendation to add a Fire Station, but also to re-purpose another station – likely Central Fire.
This week, he said that – like the Fire Union – he probably doesn’t support adding a station and subtracting on as well.
“I think if we’re going to add a station, then we should just add one and not switch one,” he said. “With the development in the Commercial Triangle, Central Fire will always play a big role there because it’s so close to Market Forge and the SkyEverett location.”
He said the Fire Study was well-written, but just a roadmap.
“It is just a roadmap and we could implement all 65 recommendations or none of the recommendations,” he said.
The Fire Study is currently in a Council subcommittee waiting for a hearing date to be set for a full review.