July 17, 2020

NYS Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Services Announces 21 Graduates of State's Recruit Firefighter Training Program in Schuyler County


Graduates to Become Full-time Firefighters at Departments Across the State

 Training Conducted in Accordance with New COVID-19 Safety Protocols Implemented at State Academy of Fire Science

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The New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services today announced the graduation of 21 new firefighters from the state’s Recruit Firefighter Training program at the Office of Fire Prevention and Control’s Academy of Fire Science in Montour Falls. Graduates hail from 14 fire departments and represent the Academy's 79th Recruit Firefighter Training class. The typical 11-week 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 remote learning for the classroom-based portions and to ensure the practical training conducted on-site was done so safely. Upon graduation, all recruits will become full-time firefighters in their respective fire departments when they return home.

New York State Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Patrick A. Murphy said, “As we continue to move forward in this new world, it’s more important than ever we continue to provide critical training to the first responders out there every day helping communities stay safe and secure. Achieving firefighter certification is no small task, and to have reached this goal amid a global pandemic is all the more impressive. I congratulate these recruits on a job well done and wish them nothing but the best as they begin their careers in public service.

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 emergency vehicle and pump operations, flammable gas firefighting, basic rescue technician skills and foundational firefighting training and 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.

New York State Fire Administrator Francis Nerney said, "The Recruit Firefighter Training Program is one of the few residential training programs providing thorough fire service training to students in an environment similar to a full-time fire department. Despite COVID-19, our expert staff has been able to adapt our courses and facilities to ensure these graduates safely receive high-level, hands-on training from some of the best instructors. Congratulations to all the recruits for reaching this goal and special thanks to their families for always supporting their loved ones’ determination to protect their communities.”

Upon the initial suspension of in-person training, recruits worked to complete the classroom-based portions of the curriculum remotely through on-line training presented by OFPC at their home department, with oversight from their department’s training officer. With classroom work complete, State Fire officials worked to implement comprehensive health and safety measures to protect recruits as they complete the physical portion of the course. As part of this effort, recruits are now be 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. More details can be found here.

The following firefighters graduated today from the 79th Recruit Firefighter Training Program: 


Home Fire Department

William Balfe

Albany Airport

Daniel Cownie

Buffalo Airport

Matthew Gokey


Andrew Philopena


Ryan Devens


Jake Lawlor


Mitchell Scherer


Cameron McConnell


Tyler Conover


Brendan Bloodnick


Emily Dove


Gregory Teeter


Gage Bird


Luke Ames


Dylan Monroe


Daniel Kidwell


Tyler Harrington


Steven Coffey


Patrick Vincent


Cameron Tuller

Pleasant Valley

Matthew Osinski



The next Recruit Firefighter Training Program at the Academy will begin next month.

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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