Town of Falmouth, Maine
271 Falmouth Road
Falmouth, ME 04105
Falmouth Fire-EMS Student Live-In Program:
In August 2009 the Falmouth Fire-EMS Department begins its first year in the Southern Maine Community College (S.M.C.C.) Public Safety Live-in Program. The program provides fulltime college students a bunk room at a local Fire Station in return for providing service to the Fire-EMS Department. As most volunteer and on-call fire departments see a declining trend in membership and an increasing trend in emergency response requests, the student live-ins provide a influx of new energy and motivated individuals to help provide the much-needed public safety service to the community.
Four students will comprise the first class of live-in students in Falmouth, and will live at the Winn Road Fire Station, Station 4. Each student will provide 12 hours of on-duty shift coverage at Central Station on Bucknam Road, in addition to providing on-call volunteer coverage at least 5 nights per week from the Winn Road Station when they are not in classes, and a minimum of every other weekend when school is in session. All 4 students are enrolled as fulltime students in the Fire Science Degree Program at S.M.C.C. in South Portland and must maintain a minimum ‚ÄúC‚ÄĚ average in all classes taken each semester.
Students completed an intense interview and background process in May, an orientation program and medical exam in July, and will report to duty on August 8th. The student live-ins were selected from over 40 applicants from as far away as New Jersey. In total, thirty-one students were selected by 24 local fire departments across Cumberland County. The current selections brings the total number of student live-ins in the area to 61. Most students are in the program for 2 years, while some enter the Paramedic program once they complete the fire science degree program and stay for a 3rd year.
Students will spend their first three weeks training vigorously at a Basic Fire Academy held by several area departments in Yarmouth. The Academy will cover basic fire skills and complete the Maine Bureau of Labor Standard of 80 hours for performing firefighting functions on emergency scenes. The course will also cover an Emergency Vehicle Operators Course, and a Basic Pumps course. Once the three weeks are completed, the four Falmouth Student live-ins will be ready to start assisting other department members in providing emergency service to the community. They will attend department trainings and business meetings along with the rest of the membership, and will participate in other areas such as fire prevention, child passenger safety, and life safety inspections.
While new to Falmouth in 2009. the student live-in program has been around Cumberland County for 20 years. Departments such as South Portland and Scarborough have been participants in the program since its inception in 1988. Since that time, hundreds of students have successfully completed the program, including 4 current members of Falmouth Fire-EMS. Three of these members will serve as mentors for the program participants.
Blake Davis, a member of Falmouth Fire-EMS since he was in high school and currently a fulltime Firefighter/Paramedic in South Portland, credited his live-in experience with helping to define his career aspirations. ‚ÄúThe experience of living in a working fire house, while in college, not only prepared me for a career in emergency services but also helped define the importance to teamwork and collaboration on a daily basis.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThis program is a win-win-win for the students, the communities and the college,‚ÄĚ said Steve Willis, Southern Maine Community College Fire Science faculty member and Live-In program coordinator. ‚ÄúThe students save money on housing because they live for free in the stations; and they receive hands-on training, experience and coaching from Fire Department members that really complements their classroom lessons.‚ÄĚ
The greatest benefit to the Student Live-Ins is the cost of the program: nothing. Falmouth Fire-EMS provides the Live-In opportunity in exchange for the time commitment the students make to staff the station. The staffing that the program provides far outweighs the cost to the fire-ems department. Without the Live-In program as one of the staffing options available, Falmouth Fire-EMS might be forced to explore a much more costly option for providing fire protection: fulltime career staffing.
The Winn Road Fire Station in Falmouth is less than 15 miles from the S.M.C.C. campus in South Portland. Students will have a short commute to campus and be able to live in one of Maine‚Äôs most prestigious oceanfront communities. Attractions in Falmouth are the local harbor and town landing, indoor and outdoor ice skating facilities, cinemas, shopping, library, many parks and recreational facilities, 3 golf courses, and several restaurants. Students will also be less than 10 minutes from downtown Portland, Maine‚Äôs largest city.
For more information on the Falmouth Fire-EMS Student Live-in Program please contact the fire department at (207) 781-2610.