Italian firefighters protect Army's newest installation
March 8, 2013
VICENZA, Italy (March 8, 2012) -- The Vicenza Military Community expanded its emergency response capability Feb. 28 as 14 recently hired firefighters graduated from a month-long certification course.
"This is a very important day for our fire and emergency services because we now have two fire stations. With the support of the Vigili del Fuoco di Vicenza, we can provide safe coverage to Caserma Ederle and Villaggio, and now to Caserma Del Din," said U.S. Army Garrison Vicenza Commander Col. David Buckingham, in welcome remarks to the families, friends and firefighters attending the ceremony held in the Caserma Ederle Fire Station.
"We are now able to provide full support for the Del Din installation," said USAG Vicenza Director of Emergency Services Dan Brush.
The new firefighters are assigned to shifts at the new Caserma Del Din Fire Station.
"The firefighters who we have hired already have experience as firefighters with Italian fire departments, but they were volunteers," said Fire Chief Giancarlo Fattori. "So they have received the same training as the 24/7 Italian firefighters. Over the last 28 days, we've added the American standards training."
"We have been training them since February 1st, in basic firefighter recruit training," said Christopher Bender, supervisory firefighter with the USAG Vicenza Fire Department. "They're all seasoned firefighters, they were trained down in the Fire Academy in Rome, and they're all volunteers for various communities around the Vicenza area, so these are local grown firefighters, from Thiene and Schio all the way down to Padova.
"We just happened to pull from that pool of experienced, trained individuals and pulled them on to the caserma," he continued.
Training culminated Feb. 24-25, on Caserma Ederle, with smoke drills and rescue operations practice.
"Just over a year ago I promised the Italian community that we would hire 200 local national employees to serve at Del Din," Buckingham said. "We are doing that, and those graduating today are some of those new hires."
In 2010, 65 employees were hired for Del Din positions. In the last six months, 53 new hires have been brought on the rolls and an additional 72 positions will be filled in the next three months; 10 additional positions will not be hired until 2014, he said.
"It's a great day for you. What a great milestone in your lives and your careers to achieve this certification and now to be able to perform this important work," Buckingham said, speaking to the new firefighters. I'm proud of you and I'm proud of your instructors who took part in the training."
Capt. Joseph Brewer, Capt. Kelly Knight, Capt. Tristan Cameron, Asst. Fire. Chief John McDonald and Bender received recognition for their roles in training the new firefighters.
Among the new recruits who were presented badges and shields were: Sara Munaretto, Andrea Dal Ferro, Stefano Pretto, Nicola Bongiovanni, Patrick Suligoj, Andrea Biasio, Federico Scapin, Giovanni Risato, Gianluca Zaffaina, Johnny Plazzer, Stefano Costa, Roberto Decchino, Matteo Manfron and Simone Cupini.
"Because of the situation when we started Caserma Ederle's 24/7 fire service in 1998, we never had the time to do anything like this for the new firefighters," Fattori said. "This is great for us to join all together, Italian and American, a great opportunity for us to show what we can do and at the same time to display that we are here to support the entire community."
Fattori concluded the formalities.
"Firefighters, you are dismissed to report to your assigned shift at the new Fire Station at Del Din," he said.