BEDFORD, N.Y. — Seven Bedford volunteer firefighters were among the 128 men and women who graduated from the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services (DES) firefighting training program on July 19.
The graduates, representing 41 volunteer fire departments, were honored at DES headquarters in Valhalla, where County Executive Rob Astorino thanked them for their service to their communities.
“Obviously it takes a great deal of special knowledge to be a firefighter,” Astorino said. “More importantly, it takes a special kind of person: the kind of person who puts his neighbors and community first, the kind of person who puts himself or herself in harm’s way to save life and property.”
Bedford firefighters who completed the basic training are Thomas Farrell, Andrew Heath and Alan Dillon from the Bedford Village Volunteer Fire Department; David Heidgerd from the Bedford Hills Volunteer Fire Department, and Kate Hallex, Charles Lawrence and Joseph Lombardo from the Katonah Volunteer Fire Department.
County DES Commissioner and County Fire Coordinator John Cullen commended the graduates for completing the Firefighter I and Firefighter Survival training courses, which were held over seven months in the DES’s fire training facility.
“The Firefighter I class is an 87-hour program that is the foundation and pre-requisite for all additional fire training that a volunteer firefighter will receive,” Cullen said.
Cullen said the training academy introduces the recruits to firefighting concepts, practices and techniques in the areas of firefighter safety, fire behavior, building searches, forcible entry, ventilation, ropes/knots, rescue procedures, hazardous materials, confined space safety and fire prevention practices, among others.
In addition to the Firefighter I class, all recruits also completed a nine-hour Firefighter Survival course.
Astorino said the Department of Emergency Services fire training program is top-notch: an excellent example of how county government works with local fire departments to coordinate training for new firefighters.