Northfield firefighters, junior firefighters taking first responder training

  • Northfield EMS Public Education Coordinator and Paramedic Erik Davidson, right, instructs members of the Northfield Fire Department and Junior Firefighters program during a first responder training course Tuesday night in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield EMS Public Education Coordinator and Paramedic Erik Davidson instructs members of the Northfield Fire Department and Junior Firefighters program during a first responder training course Tuesday night in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield EMS Public Education Coordinator and Paramedic Erik Davidson, right, instructs members of the Northfield Fire Department and Junior Firefighters program during a first responder training course Tuesday night in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield EMS Public Education Coordinator and Paramedic Erik Davidson instructs members of the Northfield Fire Department and Junior Firefighters program during a first responder training course Tuesday night in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield EMS Public Education Coordinator and Paramedic Erik Davidson, at the desk, instructs members of the Northfield Fire Department and Junior Firefighters program during a first responder training course Tuesday night in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Northfield EMS Public Education Coordinator and Paramedic Erik Davidson instructs members of the Northfield Fire Department and Junior Firefighters program during a first responder training course Tuesday night in Northfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 2/6/2020 6:15:53 PM
Modified: 2/6/2020 6:15:43 PM

NORTHFIELD — Thanks to a cooperative effort between local Fire and EMS departments, members of the Northfield Fire Department and its Junior Firefighters program will receive first responder training throughout February.

Northfield EMS Paramedic and Public Education Coordinator Erik Davidson will lead the 24 hours’ worth of courses, which will be based on the standards of the Massachusetts Office of Emergency Medical Services. Davidson has taught similar courses to students, members of the United State Marine Corps and the Boy Scouts of America.

“Teaching this stuff is my passion,” he said.

The training will show participants what a day in the life of a paramedic or firefighter is like, and leave them with invaluable skills applicable to many emergency situations. Davidson noting he has been told of at least four instances where trainees have used their new skills to save a life.

Lessons will be held on scattered days through Feb. 25, at the Northfield Fire Station. There will be six members of the Junior Firefighters program, ranging from 13 to 18 years old, and five members of the official department involved.

“This is a way to spark an interest in young people,” Davidson said.

He said he and firefighter Amanda Dunnell, who heads the Junior Firefighters program, hope the course will encourage the junior firefighters and other local young adults to consider a career in public safety. In fact, Davidson said the current staffing system at Northfield EMS works well, but the department is still looking to take on more basic EMTs because they are certified to drive the ambulance as well as provide basic life support functions and non-invasive procedures. Northfield EMS operates as the main paramedic and ambulance service for Northfield and Bernardston, in addition to providing mutual aid to Winchester, N.H.

“We’re a part of the community,” Davidson said. “We provide a small-town, paramedic-level service.”

The Junior Firefighters program has been around for decades, and the first responder training is a way to expand on the skills already taught by the Fire Department. Dunnell said the participants will walk away from the course with a firm grasp of first responder knowledge.

“It will help if they come across anything in their personal lives that requires medical response, and give them the basic knowledge to grow upon if they go into this field,” she said.

In addition to teaching “the role of the first responder” and “the role of the ambulance EMS personnel,” lessons will include initial patient assessment, ways to stop bleeding, how to safely transport patients with back or spinal injuries, and the proper ways to rescue someone trapped in a car or to conduct water rescues. Other lessons will focus on medical emergencies ranging from heart attacks, diabetic reactions and behavioral emergencies, to alcohol, drug or toxicity assessment and treatment.

At the end of the course, participants will discuss their options for becoming a basic EMT, or the next steps toward being certified paramedics. According to Northfield EMS Chief Mark Fortier, the local department has a tuition program with Greenfield Community College. In exchange for working with the Northfield EMS department as a basic EMT, students will receive full payment toward their tuition, excluding costs for textbooks and individual tests. Students commit to two or three years with the local department upon completing their studies, and students must pay the department back if they drop out of or fail the course.

“It can be hard work,” Davidson said, “but if you put in the effort, this profession quickly becomes very rewarding.”

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 264.




Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261
Fax: (413) 772-2906

 

Copyright © 2020 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy