• The San Juan Daily Star

Firefighters Academy graduates 140 cadets

Some 140 cadets graduated from the Firefighters Academy after eight weeks of training in different parts of the island.

By The Star Staff

Gov. Pedro Pierluisi Urrutia and Public Safety (DSP) Secretary Alexis Torres on Monday commemorated the graduation of 140 cadets from the island Firefighters Academy who took training for eight weeks and were assigned to different parts of the island.

“Today is a great day because we have finally managed to recruit 140 new firefighters who join the Puerto Rico Firefighters Bureau today with a lot of energy and dedication,” the governor said at a press conference. “The firefighters on our island have a long history of service in all the communities of Puerto Rico. Like many other first responders, they risk their lives to save the lives and property of our people. I am pleased to be able to join you here to highlight the achievements of this group of dedicated men and women, who have responded to the call of our people to serve.”

Pierluisi added that “earlier this year I successfully defended before the [Financial] Oversight [and Management] Board a salary increase that was legislated last year and that the board tried to prevent from being implemented.”

“In addition, I made sure that all firefighters received the Premium Pay for their work during the pandemic and allocated funds for new equipment and for station improvements,” he said. “I also pledged that this recruitment academy would be achieved to ensure that we have the necessary personnel to respond to emergencies in our town. And I have been clear that I am going to continue fighting to do better salary justice to all firefighters as our fiscal situation continues to improve.”

The DSP secretary said meanwhile that “since 2016, an academy has not been held to recruit firefighters.”

“DSP and the Firefirefighters Bureau have been working since January to have more of these first responders dedicated to protecting lives and property from fire,” Torres said. “These new colleagues have already had to work on scene, and they have shown their commitment to their work and to Puerto Rico.”

The interim commissioner of the Firefighters Bureau, Marcos Concepción Tirado, said most of the new firefighters will go to stations in the San Juan metropolitan area, where there is the greatest need for personnel, but there are also three residents of Culebra who will work there, and four from Vieques.

“At the Academy, they trained in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations, with a total of 320 hours in a period of eight weeks with disciplines such as fire control, training for fire control and extinguishment, and respiration equipment, among others,” Concepción Tirado said. “In addition, they obtain certification for First Aid, Operational Hazardous Materials and Forest Firefighter.”

As part of the training leading to certification as Level 1 Firefighters, 10 emergency managers from the Municipal Office for Emergency Management of the municipality of Guaynabo were also included.

The metro area municipality collaborated with the Firefighters Bureau to provide equipment, transportation, food and support to the academy, and American University in Bayamón also lent its classrooms. Courses were also offered at the Firefighters Academy in Salinas.

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