Avon Firefighters Test Their Skills in Qualification Course

Ten officers from Avon’s volunteer fire department put themselves through the paces Saturday, to see if they still have what it takes to fight fires on the front lines.

“It’s one thing to test people to come into the fire service, but it’s a whole other thing to make sure that as they stay in the fire service that they remain physically capable of doing the job,” explained Captain Adam Corrado, who added that the leading cause of death among firefighters is heart disease.

Corrado, who is an emergency room physician, created the course over the last three years. It included ten stations where leaders on the volunteer department geared up, raised ladders, carried hoses, and performed in other obstacles meant to simulate a real fire.

“It’s challenging. Certainly much harder than it looks,” said Assistant Chief Joe Speich.

Corrado said the National Fire Protection Association recommends these types of evaluations, but not many volunteer departments are doing them. He said Avon was one of the first in Connecticut.

Fire department officers said the evaluation is not meant to weed out any of their volunteers. Rather, the goal was to pinpoint areas where individuals may need a little extra training.

“It’s basically a life-safety issue. We want to make sure that all of our firefighters are able to perform these basic skills on the fire ground,” said Chief Michael Trick.

The officers’ performances will be evaluated, and the rest of the department is expected to complete the course in the fall.

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