Moyers Corners Fire Department benefits with OCC program
In 1994, then Chief Greg Tiner, was looking for ways to reduce response times and solve manpower issues. The answer in part was to participate in the Onondaga Community College Fire Protection “bunkin” program. From that point forward, the Moyers Corners Fire Department has been participating in the bunkin program, which was modeled after a program in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Today the interested students will generally start contacting Captain Greg Shaffer in their junior year of high school. The interviews are then held in May so that MCFD can make the decision of which applicants will be accepted. For training purposes and scheduling, bunkin’s will only be accepted into the fall semester.
The bunkin candidate needs to be an active member in a volunteer fire department in New York State, outside of Onondaga County, and they must also be accepted into the Fire Protection Program at Onondaga Community College, where they are required to maintain a 2.5 grade-point average or higher. The students are assigned to live in one of the four stations for an entire year, making it two bunkins per station. They are each assigned their own bedroom, and have shareable facilities amongst the both of them.
The Moyers Corners Fire Department consists of two rescue houses, Stations 3 and 4, and two ladder-truck houses at Stations 1 and 2. The department wants the students to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible while staying at MCFD. Therefore, they are given the opportunity to run calls out of both the rescue houses and the ladder-truck houses.
After they have completed their first year at their designated station, upon their return they will be sent to a different station in order to obtain more knowledge and gain more practice.
Returning bunkin, Trevor Goodenough, comes from Oneida County. Goodenough spent his first year at Moyers Corners, running calls out of Station 4 and becoming proficient with engine and rescue company operations.
Although he became well acquainted with all of the rescue company operations, Goodenough really enjoys where he is right now, at Station 2. Here, he is able to participate in much more truck work, which includes: search and rescue, ventilation, ladder work, etc. Upon graduating from OCC and perusing his goals of becoming a career firefighter, Goodenough plans on attending the University of Maryland for his bachelor’s or master’s degree in fire protection engineering while participating in Prince George’s County Fire Department.
Goodenough really enjoys what he does, but is more concerned about helping out the public. “Everyone loves to ride the engine or truck to fire calls but to me, the thanks given by the families and people affected means much more,” Goodenough said. “Giving back to the community and teaching children about fire safety…is what it’s really about for me.”
First year bunkin, Kyle Thompson joined MCFD due to the great reputation the fire department has. Thompson has been a member of the West Monroe Volunteer Fire Department for five years and is really enjoying his time at Station 1. Being in his first semester at OCC, Thompson is taking fire instructor and fire officer classes, which help him to gain insight in becoming a good leader, as well as a good teacher. Thompson is eager to run calls and become acquainted with MCFD. Thompson said he didn’t get the same volume of calls in his hometown.
“Also the camaraderie,” has been important to Thompson.
After graduating from OCC in the spring of 2011 Thompson plans on going to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for more fire service experience.
Before becoming cleared on all the apparatus, and being able to participate as an “interior structural firefighter” the bunkins must have completed their New York State Firefighter 1 course. They are all scheduled to arrive one week before school starts, and they will all have their physicals, fit tests, and sized for duty uniforms. After this, the training then includes bloodbourne, EMS protocol, SOP review, engine company operations, ladder company operations and rescue company operations. They are also required to take a class in kitchen cleanliness and cooking rules. According to Shaffer, at the end of the first week, the group was brought to Adam Eden’s camp in Lafayette, New York, for a team building experience. This specific training was done by Tom Gardner of Team Adventure. Visit teamadventurecny.com for more information.
The bunkins participated in both verbal and non-verbal communication group activities. Among the several activities that they participated in, one was a rope course with zip lines, which included high and low elements. The students, as well as the instructors had a great time uniting as a team. Throughout the activities that were offered at this camp, the students were able to gain trust in one another, while building confidence in them.
Being a bunkin is a truly rewarding experience. The students are able to gain much information and knowledge from a different fire department, while meeting new people and participating in new activities. The Moyers Corners Fire Department and the tax payers of the town of Clay have reaped great benefit from the program.
The bunkin program is here to stay, says Chief Ed Wisnowski. Participating in fire calls, and learning the apparatus is a very large part while fulfilling a duty as a firefighter, however it’s only the beginning. Come prepared to have a great time, while meeting new people and finding life-long companionships in brotherhood and sisterhood.
Erin Austin is the director of corporate communications Moyers Corners Fire Department.