October 22, 2020

Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Announces 22 Graduates of State's Recruit Firefighter Training Program

Graduates Include Volunteer and Career Firefighters from 13 Departments Across the State

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced the graduation of 22 new firefighters from the Recruit Firefighter Training program at the State Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls. Graduates hail from 13 fire departments and represent the Academy's 81st Recruit Firefighter Training class. Led by experts from the Division’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control, the rigorous 11-week, full-time residential program provides extensive fire service training in an environment similar to a full-time fire department. However, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the training was adapted to accommodate social distancing for the residential and classroom-based portions and to ensure the practical training conducted on-site was done so safely.

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, “Thanks to the world-class education offered at the State Academy of Fire Science, the men and women of New York’s fire service have not only proven themselves to be some of the nation’s most effective first responders, but some of the best trained as well.  No matter the type of disaster, nor how slight or severe, our firefighters always respond with the bravery, character and determination necessary for keeping their fellow New Yorkers safe. I am proud to congratulate these new graduates, as well as applaud and thank them for their commitment to public service, especially during times as difficult as these.”

New York State Fire Administrator Francis Nerney said, “Our brave firefighters have completed their training at one of the best fire service training facilities in the nation, and they are well prepared to serve their communities using the practical knowledge they obtained during this in-depth 11-week course. I thank these courageous men and women for dedicating their lives to keeping our communities safe and wish them the best as they begin their careers.”

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control’s Recruit Firefighter Training Program provides basic training for both volunteer and recently hired career firefighters. During the 11-week program, recruits participate in more than 500 hours of training in both classroom and practical settings. Classes focus on areas such as structural, vehicle and flammable liquid firefighting, emergency vehicle operations, hazardous material emergency incident and basic rescue technician operations. Recruits also participate in daily physical fitness training in preparation for the Candidate Physical Ability Test. Upon completion, graduates will have received national certification from the National Board of Fire Service Professional Qualifications in Firefighter I, Firefighter II and Hazardous Materials Operations.

The following firefighters graduated today from the 81st Recruit Firefighter Training Program:


Home Fire Department

Sean T. Pecukonis

Albany Airport

Jacob A. Willey 

Albany Airport

Kevin Furness


Thomas A. Germano Jr.


Tyler Hildwein


Andrew Rayburn


William M. Bullock


Peter E. Holmes


Nicole S. Wright


Samuel W.A. Caruso


Colin J. Lyons


Tanner C. Niezgoda


Cody R. Beckwith


Mathew T. Parrella


Blake A. Parry


Ty A. Abell


Kyle Jones


Joshua B. Wilcox 


Dylan M. Biancaniello


John E. Schumaker III


Hunter R. Bogosian

Sunset Bay

David R. Norton


The next Recruit Firefighter Training Program at the Academy is expected to begin in February.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, State Fire officials have worked to implement comprehensive health and safety measures to protect recruits, instructors and the community in order to complete the 11-week program. As part of this effort, recruits are now required to complete the same screening process which has been implemented at state-owned facilities across the state. Specifically, recruits have their temperature taken and are asked a series of questions to identify their potential exposure to the COVID-19 virus. This will occur each week as recruits enter the academy, and then twice daily as they are on site.

A number of changes have also been implemented at the Academy itself to ensure an enhanced level of safety. This includes:

  • A significantly reduced number of course offerings to reduce occupancy;
  • The implementation of a single-room occupancy model in the dormitory to reduce density;
  • The installation of new physical barriers in the business and cafeteria areas of the Academy to support social distancing;
  • Modified food service to stagger cafeteria schedules, as well as replace buffet style service with individual meals being handed to each student by a single worker to support social distancing;
  • Modified classroom seating to incorporate social distancing;
  • Requiring all Academy occupants to wear facemasks whenever the potential for less than six feet of separation could occur;
  • The installation of additional hand sanitizing stations in all common areas; and
  • Ensuring housekeeping staff have the appropriate PPE and sanitizing supplies to ensure all common areas and touch points are cleaned and sanitized per Department of Health guidelines.

About the State Office of Fire Prevention and Control

The Office of Fire Prevention and Control delivers a wide breadth of services to firefighters, emergency responders, state and local government agencies, public and private colleges, and the citizens of New York. The office advances public safety through firefighter training, education, fire prevention, investigative, special operations and technical rescue programs. The delivery of these essential services enables the office to make significant contributions to the safety of all of New York State.

About the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services provides leadership, coordination and support for efforts to prevent, protect against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from terrorism and other man-made and natural disasters, threats, fires and other emergencies. For more information, visit the DHSES Facebook page, follow @NYSDHSES on Twitter, or Instagram, or visit dhses.ny.gov.


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