On an annual basis the department conducts over 10,000 hours of training. The Training Division is headed up by the Deputy Chief of Training. The department consistently seeks out training opportunities not just locally but on a national level. We are always rebuilding our local program to be more efficient and allow us to meet our annual mandatory requirements. All Full Time firefighters in the city are trained to the Hazardous Materials Technician level which includes WMD (weapons of mass destruction) response. This component is funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Annually, the department sends several individuals to national schools for the most advanced training offered in the United States today. All new employees participate in a formal drill school lasting three to four weeks. The drill school covers all aspects of the job such as: firefighting, oil /foam response, high angle rescue, confined space and emergency medical response. The last requirement is for the recruits to travel to Anniston, Alabama to complete their hazmat training. This initial advanced training should serve them well throughout their careers.
The Department has also teamed up with area departments to conduct an annual Basic Fire School for new Call Company firefighters; this 60+ hour class meets the requirements of the Maine Bureau of Labor Standards to become an Interior Firefighter in Maine.
Additionally we offer a Fire Officer Development program. The officer training program was originally offered in a classroom setting and has now been expanded to an online program open to all of our employees. As of 2011 all line officers (captains & lieutenants) of both the Full Time and Call Company are required to have completed this training.
The Department takes its responsibility to properly train its’ members properly in order to accomplish our mission as safely as possible. Each year the Training Division will issue the requirements for the year. Normally there will be five or six required topics. This training is normally conducted by the individual companies at their monthly training sessions. All members must attend or make up therequired training. Additionally, the department requires that all Call Company members obtain at least 36 training hours each year in order to remain active on the department. Most have far more than the minimum hours.
Full Time members conduct their training while on duty. They are required to have the same required training as the Call Companies, but because of their expanded duties, they also receive training annually in: Hazmat/WMD Response, Confined Space Rescue, Ice & Marine Rescue, and Vehicle Extrication to list a few topics. The Department provides Emergency Medical Response at the Paramedic level. As part of the Department’s annual training schedule there are approved EMS classes to assist providers to receive enough continuing education credits to relicense in-house.