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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Local Firefighters Reach the Top of their Class

Local Firefighters Reach the Top of their Class
Exceptional class achieves state Firefighter I certification

Ulysses, PA June 5, 2013: 

Twenty –one volunteer firefighters from Potter and Tioga counties put the frosting on the cake on May 17th and 18th when every student in the class passed Pennsylvania’s Firefighter I certification testing. Another 6 firefighters passed the written tests and are waiting to become eligible to take the practical test to achieve their FF1 certification. 

Many firefighters, both professional and volunteer, attempt this test after weeks or months of training and study. This class left no one behind. All 27 students passed their tests the first time
According to John Hetrick, Potter County Department of Emergency Services Director, “A 100% pass rate is unheard of for FF1 testing.” 

Participants represented volunteer fire companies from Coudersport, Genesee Township, Harrison Township, Sabinsville (Clymer), Ulysses (Tri-Town), and Westfield (Crary Hose). The eight gals and eighteen guys ranged in age from 16 to 67. For some it was the beginning of their training. Others, who are long-time firefighters with many years of training and experience, chose to take this class with their fellow firefighters to achieve their FF1 certification and make it official.

The grueling road to this achievement started last November as they began the Bucks County Community College Basic Fire Academy curriculum. It requires over 196 hours of classroom and hands-on training. In addition, this class spent multiple weekends and weeknights studying and in practice sessions, in all kinds of weather, to achieve their goal.

As volunteer firefighters, this training was added to their “regular” time commitments, including full-time jobs, emergency calls at all hours of the day and night and the needs of their families. However, anyone that knows the volunteer firefighting community knows that it is a family affair. This class of graduates included 2 married couples, a set of sisters, a set of brothers, and several sons and daughters. 

Although they came from several different volunteer fire companies, this class has developed a strong sense of teamwork during their time together. 

In addition to the man-hours this training required, the resources required to conduct a class like this were daunting, but were provided courtesy of a great deal of good will and cooperation.
The Potter County Emergency Services Council (PCESC), a coalition of representatives from fire, ambulance and law enforcement services, sponsored this training and became the focal point for coordinating resources. Company chiefs not only gave up personnel during training times, but provided vehicles and equipment needed for the hands on training. They also made sure that their volunteers did not have to foot the bill for the testing fees, which ranged from $150- $300 per person. 

Volunteers at the Tri-Town Fire Hall provided meals for 30 plus people during every class session, whether it was at the hall or at a remote facility. The Local Emergency Planning Committee provided the funding to invest in purchasing the textbooks at roughly $50 each so the volunteers would not have to pay for them and the books will be returned for re-use by future classes. 

The Wellsville (NY) Volunteer Fire Department became a valuable resource, offering the capability for structural burn training and becoming a certified testing facility. The next closest facility is 2 hours away and would have been significantly more expensive. Wellsville VFD offered their facility for no more than a donation and has formed a valuable bond of cooperation across the border with the Potter County volunteer fire companies.


• Michael Adams - Father Duane and Older brother Jeremy both firefighters , Senior at Northern Potter, will be attending Alfred State College this fall. Parents are Duanne & Carmelia. 

• Austin Burdick - Son of Christy and John, Austin passed the written test and when he turns 18 he will be eligible to complete the training and testing to become a certified FF1 - Harrison Twp VFD.
• Christy Burdick - Mom to Austin, wife to John Jr., veteran emergency responder – Harrison Twp VFD. 

• John Burdick, Jr. – Dad to Austin, husband to Christy, veteran emergency responder – Harrison Twp VFD. 

• Ashley Chitester - completed all but the Structural Burn class (students must be 18) as a senior project and received an “A” grade for her efforts - Coudersport VFD. 

• Malachi Cochran – Crary Hose Company (Westfield). 

• Tony Cowburn – Coudersport VFD - Passed written. Will complete practical later this summer. 

• Joe Dennison – Clymer Township VFD. No info available. 

• Ryan Dunn – Tri-Town VFD. 

• Matthew Eldridge – Clymer Hose Company (Westfield). 

• Alaina Freeman – Sister to Alicia. Her dad, Dave and her Uncle John are both seasoned firefighters and engine captains at Tri-Town. Her mom, Robin is the Tri-Town VFD photographer and is also a champion for the annual Camp Cadet program – Tri-Town VFD. 

• Alicia Freeman – Sister to Alaina, daughter to Dave and Robin, niece to John, also certified as an EMT - Tri-Town VFD. 

• LeeAnne Guryn – Also certified as an EMT. Husband and son are both emergency responders - Tri-Town VFD. Passed written, has one more class to make up to finish. 

• Krischen Hunt - took the class with his dad, Roy and Uncle Russell, passed the written test and when he turns 18 he will be eligible to complete the training and testing to become a certified FF1. He plans on serving in the military – Tri-Town VFD. 

• Roy Hunt – Dad to Krischen, veteran emergency responder, also certified as an EMT and Rescue Technician – Tri-Town VFD. 

• Russell Hunt – Brother to Roy, veteran emergency responder, also a certified Rescue Technician, Tri-Town VFD. 

• Aaron Kuhn Jr. – Currently a Junior Firefighter. Grandfather Aaron and father Jon are veteran firefighters, mom Teresa is Ladies Aux. Member, passed the written test. When he turns 18 he will be eligible to complete the training and testing to become a certified FF1 – Genesee VFD. 

• Kirk McCaslin – Also a certified EMT, veteran emergency responder – Harrison Township VFD. 

• Cale Mead - Clymer Township VFD. 

• Krystle Newhard – Also certified as an EMT and Advanced Fire Police – Tri-Town VFD. 

• Cheri Potter – Mom to Kirsten, wife to Chief 20 Neal Potter, also certified as an EMT and Rescue Technician, veteran emergency responder – Harrison Township VFD. 

• Kirsten Potter - Daughter of Neal and Cheri, completed this class while also completing her vet tech studies at Alfred State. She took her practical skills testing on Saturday and graduated on Sunday.– Harrison Twp VFD. 

• Neal Potter – Dad to Kirsten, husband of Cheri, Chief of Harrison Township VFD, also certified as an EMT and Rescue Tech. 

• Cody Reisinger – has completed all of the classes, has one make-up test to pass to complete the requirements for his FF1 certification - Austin VFD. 

• Walter Soroko – veteran emergency responder – Harrison Township VFD. 

• Joshua Taft – Clymer Township VFD. 

• Kody Taylor – Coudersport VFD 

• Ken Wingo – also certified as an EMT and Rescue Technician; Deputy Coroner and former county commissioner – Tri-Town VFD.


Jeff Barber said...

Great job everyone!

Anonymous said...

Way to GO AJ!!!!! SO proud of you!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you to all our 'volunteer' firefighters. Too often you go unnoticed for your time and dedication. Again, thanks for all you do.

Larry Sherman said...

A big way to go to all the Potter County Firemen Graduates. I am proud to call them friends. My thoughts are with them even in NC