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Push In Wet Down Ceremony kicks off firefighter CTE program at Ponaganset High School
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By Chief Richard Susi
June 5, 2024

A "Push In Wet Down" Ceremony was held at Ponaganset High School on June 4, 2023. Governor Dan McKee and Secretary of State Greg Amore offered their remarks at the event that kicked off their Firefighter Career & Technical Education (CTE) program and the official welcoming of their very own, newly donated fire engine.

Many thanks were offered to PHS teacher and Warren Fire Department Captain Christopher Stanley, who initiated the program. Cumberland Fire Department Lt. Chris Smith, who also works for Greenwood Emergency Vehicles, who donated the truck, officially turned it over to PHS while making remarks about the need for new young firefighters and their need to be safe and watch over each other when entering the fire service.

This event officially launched the program where students, over a four-year period, will take Firefighter I & II as a course during the school day which is taught by teachers at PHS who also serve their individual communities as volunteer firefighters. These classes include hands-on training such as search and rescue, how to advance hose lines, structural firefighting techniques in addition to classroom lectures on building construction, fire ground safety and hazardous material response.

Ponaganset High School is continued the decades old tradition of inviting the community to push the new engine backward into the fire station bay. This tradition began in the late 1800’s when fire departments used hand-drawn pumpers and horse-drawn equipment that needed to be hand-pushed back into the bays themselves. Before pushing the apparatus back in the bay, the firefighters would also wash down and ready the pumpers and the horses before the next fire call.

The new Fire Engine is a 1983 Ford Ranger with a 1000 GPM pump. It recently came out of service serving as Engine 2 in Fairhaven, MA and was donated by Greenwood Emergency Vehicles.

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