WEST ORANGE, NJ – The West Orange Fire Department (WOFD) has partnered with West Orange High School (WOHS) as part of a series of guest classroom speakers, and the first session was held on May 4 in the senior CPR class taught by Brian Dillon.

Captain Joe Matullo (WOHS Class of 1998) and Firefighters Rich Mulligan (WOHS Class of 1989) and 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. (Approximately 90 percent of the WOFD is comprised of WOHS graduates.) 

The members of the WOFD are first responders and each firefighter is certified as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). According to Matullo, the department answers approximately 6,000 calls per year and 70 percent are medical.

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West Orange 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’ve 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,” said PE and Health Supervisor Kevine Alvine. “The connection is real-life to the classroom curriculum and building these community relationships is not only relevant but important.”