WEST ORANGE, NJ — The West Orange Fire Department has partnered with West Orange High School as part of a series of guest classroom speakers, and the first session was held May 4 in the senior CPR class taught by Brian Dillon.
Capt. Joe Matullo, Firefighter Rich Mulligan and Firefighter Daniel Keenan visited with four CPR classes to help students connect what they are learning in their classes with the practical experience of the firefighters. Matullo is a 1998 graduate of WOHS and Mulligan is a 1989 graduate of WOHS; approximately 80 percent of the WOFD is comprised of WOHS graduates.
WOFD personnel are first responders and each firefighter is certified as an EMT. According to Matullo, the fire department answers approximately 6,000 calls per year, 70 percent of which are medical. Firefighters take a 250-hour course for certification and are recertified every three years. The fire department began training as EMTs in 1996 and is now the primary emergency response team in West Orange.
High school students completing the CPR course can take the test and become certified in CPR, opening employment opportunities like lifeguard and camp counselor. A firefighting career — its lifestyle, hours, benefits and opportunities — was also discussed.
Firefighters shared their EMT experiences and encouraged students to become CPR-certified as they talked about how many lives they have saved with the skill.
“This is a way for our students to see the connection between real-life emergencies and life-saving skills that are happening in West Orange,” physical education and health supervisor Kevin Alvine said. “The connection is real-life to the classroom curriculum and building these community relationships is not only relevant but important.”