Fifteen area residents answered the Easton Volunteer Fire Company’s call for new volunteers.

“For Easton, we normally average three volunteers a year, so to have fifteen is way above our norm,” said Easton Fire Chief Robert Klem. “We went on a big recruitment drive.”

The new volunteers will have to complete a Firefighter 1 certification to respond to emergencies, help save lives and protect property. On a recent Tuesday night at the Easton fire station, five of the 15 volunteers attended a lecture-based certification class, where they are learning a range of firefighting skills.

The five volunteers who are participating in the class are working towards becoming certified to use the SCBA, or the self-contained breathing apparatus used by firefighters. The device is standard firefighting equipment because it provides firefighters with breathable air in a dangerous environment and protects them from toxic gas and harmful particulates resulting from a fire. The volunteers will earn the certification after successfully performing the skills taught in the program and then passing a written test and a practical test at the end of the class.

The Firefighter 1 class is taught by instructors provided by the Fairfield Regional Fire School. Different instructors signed up to give lectures and run the practical days, where volunteers apply the skills that they learned.

“They go out there and do all their practical evolutions, using ladders, deploying hose lines, putting equipment on,” said Joe Coppola, an instructor for the Firefighter 1 certificate program.

According to the Connecticut State Commission on Fire Prevention and Control, the Firefighter 1 program evaluates prospective recruits on a range of necessary skills to become a certified firefighter. The skills range from knot tying and radio procedures to what action to take when there is a trapped or disoriented person.

Justin Cavaliere, a volunteer currently taking the Firefighter 1 course, said that the course requires an extensive time commitment, but he is willing to complete it to better serve his community. “If you mess up, you do it over again until you get it right,” said Cavaliere, who added that his family is in full support of his passion to become a firefighter.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, I’m really looking forward to becoming a firefighter and helping my community.” said Cavaliere.

Klem explained that once the volunteers take and pass this class they can then partake in all firefighting activities.

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