FF/EMT Kristen Ahearn
Q: How long have you been a
Firefighter/EMT? How long have you been with the Pittsfield
A: I started as an Explorer back in 1993
in Bennington. From there I joined the Bennington Fire
Department as a firefighter in 1998 and got my EMT license
the same year. I was hired in Pittsfield in 2001.
You’re the force behind the Sec ret Santa program. Can you
tell us about your involvement?
A: I helped sort toys
when the Pittsfield Police Department ran the program. In
2005, I was offered the chance to coordinate the program
while I was out on maternity leave. After a few years of
trial and error, Jen Tedcastle and I had the program running
We assist families in Pittsfield who
need help providing toys/gifts for their children at
Christmas. The goal is to make sure each child receives a
warm outfit, jacket and boots, if they are needed, and a
couple of toys. I’m blessed to have several behind the scene
“elves,” as well as many generous businesses and individuals
who contribute to make it possible every year. The program
has always been run completely by donations. Different town
departments have run it over the years.
Q: Do you
have a special area of interest?
A: I’m partial to
community involvement. The more we are involved in the
public, the less intimidating we are during an incident. I
enjoy talking to our seniors who are part of the call-in
program, giving station tours, and helping educate people
about car seat safety. I’m in the process of setting up
several classes that will help us educate the public and
keep our community a safer place.
Secretary, June Tillotson-Norman
Q: How long have you worked at the
Fire Department and how have you seen the department
progress over the years?
A: Call volume has increased
over 60% since I was offered the position here almost 17
years ago. Changes in the fire service and EMS steers a lot
of what we need to accomplish and to meet those challenges
working smarter and being more resourceful has never been
more important as it has in recent years. One thing that
hasn’t changed is how deeply passionate our members are
about fire and EMS, their affiliation with the department,
and their commitment to serve the community. It’s an honor
to work with them.
Q: What projects do you work on
as a volunteer member of the Pittsfield Firefighters
A: I’ve been the secretary for 7 years for
our 501 (c) 3 organization. I enjoy having the opportunity
to work on our Facebook page found at “Pittsfield
Firefighters Association” and this “Meet Our Members”
Acting Fire Chief Nick Abell
Q: How long have you been a member of
the Fire Department?
A: I joined the Pittsfield Fire
Department 13 years ago. I joined shortly after the
conflagration on Park Street in 2000.
Q: Are you
working on a fire department project?
A: As Acting Fire
Chief there are many projects that I participate in. One
project I have been working on, and hope to continue to work
on as Deputy Fire Chief, is Standard Operating Procedures
and Standard Operating Guidelines. These
procedures/guidelines ensure uniformity in fire rescue and
Q: What has been the best training
A: I have taken a lot of training; however,
the best trainings I have attended are those taught by our
members. It’s refreshing to have a different perspective of
member’s ideas and teaching methods.
Q: Why did you
accept the position of Acting Chief?
A: When the Board of
Selectmen asked if I would serve the role of Acting Chief I
accepted for many reasons, particularly because I felt I
could bring stability to the department regardless of how
short my term. The department has undergone four Fire Chiefs
in about 18 months. Another reason I accepted was to embrace
the thoughts of members on how they see department
operations. Without the support of the officers and members
there would be no fire department.
FF/EMT Ken White
Q. How long have you been a firefighter/EMT? How long have
you been with PFD?
A. I started in 2003 as an Explorer at
the age of 14. In 2007 I became a call member and in 2013 I
was hired fulltime.
Q. What have you learned and
gained in those 10 years?
A. I’ve learned a great deal
about firefighting. Most people think it is as easy as “Put
the wet stuff on the hot stuff,” but it’s not. There is a
lot of science involved that interests me. Most importantly,
I’ve gained a bigger family. I consider each member I work
with a brother/sister and, if need be, would lay my life
down to save them.
Q. What is the best training you
attended? What did you take away from it?
A. The best
training I’ve attended was the International Association of
Firefighters Fire Ground Survival Class. This course was
based on real-life situations where we lost firefighters
during “MAYDAY” situations. This class helped me feel more
confident in my abilities to survive a MAYDAY situation and
helped me feel more confident in my equipment. It also gave
me the mindset to train harder.
Lt. Peter Pszonowsky
Q: How long have you been a
A: I first joined the fire service in
1994 as a Firefighter\EMT, working for six years until I
left the service to start my own landscaping company. I
returned in 2009 as Firefighter II and went on to achieve
EMT-I, working on a full-time basis. In today’s
EMS\firefighter arena continued education is a must. I try
to take at least three classes a year, having recently
completed Fire Officer I, continuing on to Fire Officer II.
Being a new state instructor brings with it built-in
motivation to maintain and expand upon necessary skills and
new ways of teaching.
Q: What do you like about
working at the Pittsfield Fire Department?
A: I’ve always
liked helping people, and when I joined the Fire Department
I was continually fascinated and gratified by the many new
friends who became part of an extended family. Pittsfield is
the small town I grew up in, so I know a lot of people which
can make the job easy most times —or more challenging at
others. I do really love the work and when you see that what
you do can make a tangible difference, that’s the best
Q: Do you have a fire department related
A: The projects my partner and I have been working
on are updating the Knox Box information keys, new contact
numbers, and where they are located on the building; this
helps the dispatcher relay the info to us. We are also
updating all common place data at the same time which
includes the town as a whole.
My plan for the future
is to learn as much as I can about the profession and to
become a chief officer in the years to come. To reach this
goal in my home town of Pittsfield would, for me, be an
FF/EMT Lyle Deane
Q. How long have you been a
A. I joined the department 10 years ago.
Prior to that I was a member of the Explorer’s Post while
attending PMHS. I’m a lifelong resident of Pittsfield.
Q. What have you learned in those 10 years?
A. In the
fire service we need to be constantly learning, be it in
training or on a call. Firefighters who say, “I know all
that I need to know” are a danger to themselves and to
Q. Do you have a fire department related
A. To eventually become an officer and serve as an
effective leader with the Pittsfield Fire Department.