HOWELL, NJ – The Monmouth County Fire Academy graduated 56 firefighters from the Firefighter I program this week. Graduates were divided into two classes: Class 98 graduated May 21 and Class 99 graduated May 22. Both ceremonies were held at the Fire Academy on Route 33.

Graduates worked 188 hours over 30 sessions and received training in rescue, fire extinguishment, hazardous materials response, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, electrical safety, and care of hoses, ladders and other equipment. 

“Tonight, you become members of one of American’s greatest creations – organized firefighting,” Freeholder Director John P. Curley said in his address to Class 98. “Modern-day firefighting is much different. Not only is your equipment updated, but you are required to do so much more. You don’t just fight fires. You will be required to respond to all sort of emergencies, like first aid calls, traffic accidents, hazardous materials spills and, yes, even terrorist acts.”

“Do not be daunted by these expectations,” Curley added. “You have just completed four months of difficult work to get ready for these challenges. What enhances fire safety is trained firefighters. And you received the best training available from the instructors at this academy.”

A graduate from each class earned an award in honor of Ronald Fitzpatrick, a former instructor at the Fire Academy who died in 2003. The awards went to Vincent R. Janovsky, Class 98 of the East Brunswick Fire District 1, and Aaron H. Carley, Class 99 of the Long Branch Fire Department, in recognition of their high test scores.

Monmouth County Fire Marshal Henry Stryker III congratulated the graduates and urged them to continue their training with advanced courses offered at the Fire Academy.

“Over the years I have learned that it takes a special type of person to be a firefighter,” Stryker said. “They have to have a passion to do this job. The graduates sitting before us have that passion because they have completed the rigorous training as their first step. Please be safe.”

“I have no doubt you will be an asset to your community,” said Armand Guzzi, chief training officer. “These firefighter graduates are to be commended for their dedication and willingness to serve. Go out and join the ranks of the firefighting community. Be safe, and have good careers.”

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Each year thousands of local firefighters receive training at the county Fire Academy. Applications for the Firefighter I class are being accepted after July 1. Classes will begin in late August.