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Meet Our Members

 at the Pittsfield Fire Department!

Paramedic Jen Tedcastle

Jen worked as a full-time paramedic for the Town of Pittsfield for 14 years until she changed employment and now continues to serve us by filling per diems shifts. Jen has been the Treasurer of the Pittsfield Firefighters Association for the past two years.

Q: What is your background in fire and ems?

A: I became an EMT-Basic in the early 1990s when I was in college. I took my EMT-Intermediate shortly after I finished college and completed paramedic level certification in 1998. I began working for Pittsfield in 1998 when the Town transitioned to a full-time ambulance service.

When I took my EMT, I was a pre-med college student, and thought it would be a way to get some extra medical experience. I loved the class and when I graduated college I began working in EMS. I found I really enjoyed it and wanted to know more. That led me to higher levels of EMS certification and now to my full-time work as a Physician Assistant.

Q: What was one of the best trainings you participated in?

A: Some of the best trainings I have been to are those that challenge my assumptions or look at why we do what we do. There has been a big push in medicine over the past 10-15 years to evidence-based medicine and that is starting to come into EMS as well. It's not enough to do things the same way we always have - now the research is being done to see if what we do actually helps patients and improves outcomes. Seeing the difference between what I was taught 20 years ago and what we've learned since then is amazing. Learning the "why do we do this" and the science behind what we're doing is fascinating.

Lt. Jeremy Yeaton

Lt. Yeaton joined the Department 16 years ago and was appointed to the position of Lieutenant in 2001.

Q: Tell us about your background in firefighting. Why did you join and what certifications do you hold?

A: I started in the fire service when one of our neighbors in Epsom lost their house from fire. I was a Senior at Pembroke Academy and joined the Epsom Fire Department. I’ve been in the fire service for 24 years. I later joined Pittsfield when I moved here. When I was about 20 years old, I took the Firefighter I class when in it was offered in-house in Epsom. Several of the Concord guys taught it. I was an EMT for about 5 to 6 years, but let that lapse. My interest really is in firefighting.

Q: What was the best training you participated in?

A: Definitely Big Rig Rescue at the Fire Academy in Concord. It was fun working with tow truck operators to work together on problems of that size. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the tow truck operators over the years.

Q: What do you like about working at the Pittsfield Fire Department?

A: I like helping the community and I value the friendship of the members.

Q: You are active around town. Where else do we see you?

A: I’ve worked at Clark’s Grain Store for the past 20 years. I’m also a member of the Pittsfield Rotary Club. I’ve been married to Nancy Farnsworth Yeaton for 17 years.

FF/EMT Nick Hoisington

We're taking a break in the Pittsfield Fire Department's "Meet Our Members" series to bid farewell to Firefighter/EMT Nick Hoisington. At age 20, Nick was one our youngest members and he had served as a per diem Firefighter/EMT for the past year and a half. We are excited for Nick as he develops his career and moves to Anne Arundel County, Maryland where he has accepted a full-time job offer with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department and starts on April 10th, 2014.
Q: How did you get involved in public safety? What certifications do you hold?

A: I initially became involved in public safety by following my dad to the fire station at a very young age. He has been full-time in the fire service for almost 30 years. From my first visit, it was like a kid in a candy store, I was in love. As time progressed so did my love for the service. I am currently certified to the EMT basic level for EMS. I am also certified to the Firefighter II level, Hazardous Materials Technician, Fire Inspector I, and Fire Instructor I. I also hold an Associate’s degree in Fire Science.

Q: How many staff members serve with the Anne Arundel County Fire Department? What is the population that is covered?

A: Currently there are close to 800 full-time or career firefighters for the county and about 700 volunteers. Together they staff the county's 30 fire stations answering the 75,000 calls for service each year. Anne Arundel is south of Baltimore and has a population of 525,000 residents.

Q: What are your goals for the future?

A: My goals for the future are to further my career with the Anne Arundel department, make it off of my probationary period, and then eventually, as things settle down, get in to teaching and training the next generation of firefighters. I do plan to return to New Hampshire and share my experiences with everyone.

I would personally like to thank the residents of Pittsfield and everyone in the fire/EMS service for your continued support. It has been a pleasure serving with each and every one of you.

FF/Paramedic Jason Nichol

Next up in the Pittsfield Fire Department’s “Meet Our Members” series is Firefighter/Paramedic Jason Nichols.

Q: What is your background?

A: I’m a transplant from Indiana. I moved to New Hampshire in 2010 and purchased a house here in Pittsfield. I have been active with the fire department since then. I started my EMS career in 2005, earning my EMT certification, and then went to school for my Paramedic license. I became a firefighter in 2008 and volunteered for the Lowell (Indiana) Fire Department. When I moved to Pittsfield, I knew I wanted to stay active on a small town fire department.

Q: Congratulations on your new full-time employment! Tell us about your new job and other employment.

A: I have been recently been hired as a probational firefighter for Plymouth (NH) Fire Department. I am hoping that my experiences and training in Plymouth will benefit the citizens of Pittsfield. In addition, I also work per diem EMS shifts at Goffstown Fire Department and Stewart’s Ambulance.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter/EMT?

A: Growing up, I always felt a need to help people - whether that was holding the door open for the elderly or volunteering in Boy Scouts - I always knew that my career would be involved in the service field. When I went to EMT school, it was a perfect fit. And I knew I found what I was meant to do!

Q: What have you learned while being a FF/EMT?

A: One thing that I have taken from my career in Fire/EMS is how to communicate with people. Building a relationship with my patients helps me to be a better caregiver and puts my patient at ease, in what is a very stressful situation for him or her.

My personal motto is “We can always do better.” To accomplish this, I hope to continue my education by taking several classes at the NH Fire Academy over the next several months.

Q: Do you have a special area of interest in fire or EMS?

A: One area of EMS that I am very interested in is ambulance design evolution. By changing the way we set up our ambulances, we can increase the safety of not only the caregiver, but also of the patient. I was on the committee for the brand new ambulance for the Pittsfield Fire Department that we took delivery of in January.

Member Wanda Mullen

Next up in Pittsfield Fire Department’s “Meet Our Members” series is Support Company member Wanda Mullen. Wanda joined the Support Company seven years ago.

Q: Why did you join the Support Company?

A: I wanted to be on the Support Company for two reasons. First of all, I wanted to help the firefighters and other emergency responders to be sure they had food and beverages. The Support Company helps out on the larger calls where the firefightes works hard, often through a meal or two, and even longer. The other reason I wanted to join was to support my husband Gary Mullen who has been on the department for 23 years. Our 9-year-old son Garrett also participates and he sure does enjoy the fire department.

Q: In what ways do you assist as a Support Unit member?

A: I help shop and prepare food, like chop suey, sandwiches, and coffee, and then with clean up. We’ve helped out on calls like the recent fire on Barnstead Road and also many of the structure fires around town and flooding events. One year I helped make sandwiches for the Reach the Beach Relay.

Q: Garrett is a real “fire house” kid. How does he help?

A: He helped making food for the firefighters at the Barnstead Road fire. He has helped loading vehicles with the Scouting for Food drop off and he helped his dad last year with placing firefighter flags at the cemetery last Memorial Day. As a family, we often ride in parades in the summer and in the Concord Holiday parade.

FF/EMT Robyn Cushing

Next up in Pittsfield Fire Department’s “Meet Our Members” series is FF/EMT Robyn Cushing. Robyn began working as a per diem EMT for Pittsfield in August of 2013.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter/EMT?

A: It goes back to the days of when I was a kid watching "Emergency." Every day I would sit in front of the TV faithfully and watch Johnny and Roy and to this day I still watch every rerun on TV. Firefighting and EMS has been a dream of mine since I was a child.

Q: How long have you been a FF/EMT?

A: I obtained my Firefighter Level I in July 1996. I joined the Allenstown Fire Department in April of 2001 and then went on to get my Firefighter Level II in August of 2003. I became a Basic EMT in July of 2005 and accepted a job offer as an EMT with Tri-Town Ambulance the following month and I continue to work there. In May 2009 I became an EMT-I. From there, I was promoted to Lieutenant and EMS coordinator on the Allenstown Fire Department in August of 2010. In October 2010 I joined AMR in the City of Manchester and later joined Pittsfield as a per diem EMT in 2013. In March 2014, I reached the accomplishment of obtaining AEMT certification.

Q: What have you learned while being a FF/EMT?

A: The true meaning of Brother & Sisterhood: No matter where you are or what you need, your extended family is there for you in a time of need. I have had a few rough patches in my life and my extended Fire and EMS family has never once let me down. They have always been there to lift me and my family up. I believe deep in my heart, and will live by these words until the day I die “YOU NEVER LEAVE A BROTHER OR SISTER BEHIND, YOU GO IN AS A TEAM, YOU COME OUT AS A TEAM.”

Firefighter Bill Brooks

Next up in the Pittsfield Fire Department’s Meet our Members series is Firefighter Bill Brooks. Bill joined the department in March 2013. Bill is a lifelong native of Pittsfield. His grandfather, Philip Brooks, was a Pittsfield police officer and animal control officer for many years.

Q: What interested you in joining the department?

A: I wanted to become a firefighter because it is an opportunity to help people and to protect their property. I wanted to do something different and challenging. As a firefighter, you learn about discipline and teamwork, as well as pushing yourself and remaining calm under pressure. It’s a job you really put your heart into. By being a firefighter, I can be a role model for my two sons. It lets me give back to my community.

Q: What other ways do you help in the community?

A: I coach sports for Pittsfield Parks and Rec and I manage many stores in the area.

FF/EMT Eliott Brown

Next up in the Pittsfield Fire Department’s “Meet our Members” series is FF/EMT Eliott Brown. Eliott joined the department last summer as a per diem EMT.

Q: How long have you been a firefighter/EMT? Are you affiliated with any other departments?

A: I began my time in the fire service in 2005 as an Explorer with the Bradford Fire Department. In 2007, I received my first EMS license as an American Red Cross First Responder and then became an EMT-Basic in 2008. 2009 brought me to my Firefighter I certification. I continue to volunteer in Bradford, as well as work full-time for a privately-owned ambulance service.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter/EMT?

A: As so many before me, I joined the fire service because of my family. My father is a deputy chief in Bradford and my mother is involved with the Bradford Rescue Squad. Growing up, I loved to go to the firehouse with my father and, as soon as I could, I began volunteering. I started with the fire department and got my EMT certification because it seemed like another good way to help my town.

Q: What was the best training you attended? What did you take away from it?

A: The most interesting training I have attended recently was the Swift Water Rescue Technician Level I class. The course covered river and swift water dynamics and basic rescue rope systems, as well as water rescue techniques. From this class I gained a new found respect for fast moving water, as well as an ability to further serve my community.

FF/EMT Kevin Marquis

Kevin joined the department in 2007 and served as an on-call member until his family relocated to Bow last year. However, we are fortunate that Kevin continues to assist us by filling per diem EMS shifts.

Q: How did you become interested in public safety?

A: I've always had an unexplainable drive to help those in need. I find working within untenable conditions and accomplishing what most people wouldn’t do, rewarding.

Q: What was one of the best trainings you attended?

A: For me, the best training I participated in was my most recent trip to the flashover container at the NH Fire Academy.

Q: Now that you live in Bow are you a member of the Bow Fire Department?
A: I am a member of Bow Fire Department, I think it has been almost a year now. Time sure does fly. I’m working as a call Firefighter/EMT.

Q: You have two sons – mason, age 8 and carter, age 5. Would you encourage them to become a firefighter/EMT?

A: I certainly would encourage them to – however, it is more important that they choose a career that they find satisfying and rewarding.

Paramedic Karen Brown

Karen joined the department as a Per Diem member in 2006 and was hired as a full-time staff member six months later.

Q: How did you happen to choose a career in EMS? What is your background in Fire and EMS?

A: I’ve always been interested in the medical field and after starting my family I began to look into furthering my education and finding a job in a profession I felt was rewarding and fulfilling. I started out in EMS by taking a Basic EMT class in 1999 and this was such a great experience that I decided to find a job as an EMT. I started out working for private ambulance companies where I was able to learn from some of the best EMS providers.

In 2003, I bought a home in Hillsboro and joined the fire department there. I was inspired by some of my friends there to take a Firefighter Level 1 class which was a quite a challenge and something I had always dreamed of doing. My accomplishments as a firefighter helped me to build the confidence I needed to enter into a paramedic program in 2006. Around the same time I was hired full-time at the Pittsfield Fire Department. I went on to receive my Paramedic License in 2009 and have been happily working for both Departments as a Paramedic ever since.

Q: What was the best training you participated in?

A: While working here at PFD I had the opportunity to take a class offered in southern Massachusetts. This was a two-day training in Advanced Airway Techniques. The course was taught by paramedics who had years of experience working in busy city areas. I was able to get a better understanding of surgical airway procedures while practicing hands-on techniques, as well as performing many other types of airways, such as intubation tubes to help people breath when they are physically unable on their own. This class was very helpful to me as a paramedic.

Q: What other EMS/Fire opportunities are you/ have you been involved with?

A: I have also had many other part-time employment opportunities in EMS over the years. One of the jobs I loved most has been teaching an EMT-Basic class at Pinkerton Academy in Derry. I was one of the instructors who assisted in teaching the Senior high school students all they needed to know to become fully capable EMTs. I am a State Examiner and am currently helping out at the New England Emergency Medical Services Institute at Advanced Level or with ALS practical exams for new EMTs and paramedics who are finished taking classes and need to complete skills performance evaluations. I work as a paramedic at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon whenever I can.

I have just recently become involved in volunteer work that has much to do with my interest in helping people and in my experience as a female firefighter. I found that, due to the low number of women in the fire service, there are very few places women can find support for the specific job-related issues that affect them, either negatively or positively. I have started taking the steps to form a nonprofit organization that has come from the success of a Facebook page I created which now has over 2,000 members internationally. In March, we will have our first gathering of women from all over the country and I look forward to meeting and discussing the future plans for the organization. The group will be meeting in Delray Beach, Florida to march in the St. Patrick’s Day Firefighter Parade which has now become one of the largest representations of firefighters in the country. I will proudly represent the Pittsfield Fire Department as I march with my Sister and Brother Firefighters.

Firefighter/EMT Howard Hill

Howard joined the department upon moving to Pittsfield.

Q: How long have you lived in Pittsfield?

A: My wife Krystina and I have lived here for about two years. We moved to town in 2012 after we got married. In February of this year we had a little boy, Peyton, who has already been to the firehouse several times.

Q: How did you get involved in public safety?

A: I have always had a passion to help people. When I graduated high school in 2009 I looked into the emergency medical field and decided that was how I could get involved and help in my community. In addition to being an on-call firefighter/EMT in Pittsfield, I also work as a per diem staff member. I work per diem shifts for Northwood Fire-Rescue as a firefighter/EMT and as an EMT for Tri-Town EMS based out of Pembroke. I am also currently working on my Bachelor’s of Science degree in healthcare management.

Q: What was the best training you participated in?

A: I have participated in many awesome trainings since I started my Fire/EMS career in 2009, but I'd have to say one of my favorites has to be an EMS approach to auto extrication held by New England Emergency Medical Institute. We got to participate in real time scenarios and learned a lot about managing motor vehicle injuries as well as highway safety.

Paramedic Bob Bousquet

Bob has been a per diem member of the Department for a year and a half and we are happy to have him here.

Q: Tell us about your connection to Pittsfield and your previous employment here.
I grew up in and around Pittsfield. I graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1984. While I was in high school, the Explorer program began in town. I initially thought I wanted to be in law enforcement professionally and after about a year I decided fire and EMS was more my interest, so I moved to the fire side of things. I joined the Pittsfield Fire Department in March of 1983, only a few days after my eighteenth birthday. In fact, Rob Freese and I joined the same night. I enjoyed my time and rose to the rank of Lieutenant, initially on Engine Company 1 and then I was asked to move over to the rescue squad. I left in June 1994 as I moved out of town. I moved to Northfield where I joined the Tilton-Northfield Fire Department as a call member. I was hired there full-time in December of 1997. I moved back to Pittsfield in 2000 and lived here for a few years. Once again, there was a need for leadership in Pittsfield and I was again appointed to the position of Lieutenant while still working full time for Tilton-Northfield Fire Department where I rose to the rank of Captain. Unfortunately, I had to retire in June of 2011 and then decided to come back to Pittsfield as a per diem employee. So that in a nutshell, is my connection to the Pittsfield Fire Department.

Q: How did you happen to choose a career in EMS? What is your background in fire and EMS?
Actually, I didn’t choose EMS as a career. I would have to say it chose me. I hold a degree in Applied Science for Graphic Arts and ran an offset press for five years before looking at private EMS and then the fire service. Once I got involved in EMS, the progression was caused by my feeling I could do more for the patients I was treating and my full-time job supported that goal.

Q: What is your involvement with the Ashland Fire Department?
I currently reside in New Hampton and spent five years as a call member there as well as rising to the rank of Captain in the call company. The fire department was a bit far from my house and my kids were growing, so I left that and about three years ago I joined Ashland Fire which is closer to my house. I am currently the EMS officer for the Ashland Fire Department, as well as working full-time for a private ambulance service.

Q: What was the best training you participated in?
The training I believe that had the greatest impact for me was right after I became a Lieutenant in Pittsfield the first time – “Leadership for the New Young Officer.” It was conducted at the York County Fire School. This course, although only a one-day program, taught me skills I still use today.
Every day should be a learning experience! When I no longer find this to prove true, I will truly need to retire. I enjoy sharing what I have learned and find that teaching in small groups is most effective for discussion based training.

Photographer Bob Legg

Bob joined the Support Company in 2009 and serves as our photographer.

Q: How did you become involved with the fire department?

A: When I moved to Pittsfield in 2002, I spent some of my days/evenings listening to calls on my scanner. I also happen to be a photographer and enjoy taking pictures of the local scenery, buildings, and events. The images from a tragic fire in June 2009 compelled me to share my photographs with the PFD for training and historical purposes. Impressed by my work, the PFD asked me to join its Support Company with the idea that my photos could benefit the department and residents of Pittsfield. I agreed, and have been part of the Support Company as PFD’s photographer ever since.

Q: The subject matter you photograph for the fire department is quite varied. What are some of the subjects?

A: As part of the Support Company, I have had varied photographic experiences. I have photographed numerous structure fires in town as well as several instances in which PFD provided mutual aid to neighboring towns. PFD frequently attends motor vehicle accidents and resulting DHART Med Flights, which I have also documented with my camera. I also took pictures of the Suncook River flooding a few years back. Not all of my work, however, is tied to emergency situations. I have also photographed PFD equipment, the station house, training exercises, dress uniforms, awards ceremonies, and holiday celebrations (such as Veteran’s Day). Since 2007, I have also been photographing Santa’s visit during the annual Pittsfield tree lighting.

Besides taking pictures for PFD, I use my photography to support the community in other ways. In 2007, I joined the Pittsfield Website Committee as the “unofficial” town photographer. As part of my responsibilities for the committee, I take photos and produce videos of scenic Pittsfield and events like Old Home Day and the Balloon Festival. I also photograph for local organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Pittsfield Economic Development Committee, Pittsfield Select Board, Pittsfield School Board, and Pittsfield Listens.

Q: What is your background in firefighting?

A: My first experience in firefighting came in 1966 when I joined the University of Massachusetts at Amherst’s student fire department. Not only was I a firefighter, but also a pump operator, which meant that I dealt with the University’s aging 1932 Maxim Pumper (no laughing!). College summers were spent as a forest and park ranger on Cape Cod where there were substantial forest fires. I also worked as a photographer with the fire and police departments in and around Derry, New Hampshire for over 10 years.

Q: How can members of the community access your photos?

A: I uploaded most of the photographs on Pittsfield to the town website: My professional website at and photo albums at also contain thousands of photographs.

[The Pittsfield Fire Department and Pittsfield Firefighters Association would like to thank Bob for the service he provides and capturing the images we’d like to preserve.]

Capt. Michael Wolfe

Capt. Wolfe has been a member for almost 21 years and served as an EMT for 16 of those years.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter?

A: Every member of a community should do something to give back to the community. This is my way of giving back. It’s the right thing to do. When someone calls 911, they assume the fire department will come. If people don’t join the department, there is a chance not enough people will respond to a call.

Q: What are your responsibilities as the Forest Fire Warden for the Town of Pittsfield?

A: Primarily, making sure the department has the tools, equipment, and training to put out forest fires. Also, it’s my job to keep the public informed about forest fire laws and fire prevention. I try to attend the monthly meeting for our region to keep up with what’s going on around us.

Q: What other community groups are you involved with?

A: I am a member of the School Board and am also an assistant scoutmaster with the local Boy Scout troop. I’m a member of the Drake Field Committee and part of the Suncook Valley Sno-Riders snowmobile club. I was on the Housing Standards Agency board for a while. I try to help out whenever I can.

Q: What’s your formula for striking a balance with all you are involved in?

A: Don’t forget what’s important to you. I have an awesome wife–Gretchen– and two sons. They have been very supportive of all of my “hobbies.” My boys, Tucker (on right, in photo) and Casey (on left, in photo), are with me whenever possible whether it’s working at the fire station or doing trail work with the snowmobile club. Involving my family in everything I do is really what makes it work. Without their support, I couldn’t do it.

EMT-Intermediate Jim Girard

Capt. Girard has been a full-time staff member for 10 years and was appointed to the position of EMS Captain one year ago.

Q: How long have you been a firefighter/EMT? How did you get into this career and what is your background?

A: It’s kind of hard to say exactly how long I have been a firefighter/EMT since I was born into the fire service 31 years ago. My father was a career firefighter in St. Albans VT at the time and my parents tell stories of me always hanging out at the fire station with my father and going on calls. My father was also a member of the Swanton Village Fire Department in VT and he currently is the Fire Chief. This is the department where I got my start and I learned how strong of a brotherhood the fire service truly is. I was involved in many community groups, but being an Explorer on the fire department was where I devoted much of my time. I took my Firefighter 1 during my senior year of high school and was not allowed by my parents to respond on calls until I officially graduated in June even though I was appointed to full member status of the fire department when I turned 18 in April.

When I graduated high school I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I had three different career choices in mind and had been accepted into three different colleges. I finally made my mind up once I had been accepted to be a live-in student with the Gilmanton Fire Department while I attended the NH Community Technical College at the time, now the school is known as Lakes Region Community College. I lived in the fire house with four roommates for two years while I attended college. This experience was amazing and I would do it all over again. We worked with the full-time staff and call members of the department on calls and trainings. This helped me gain a great amount of experience and knowledge. I graduated with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Fire Science. Just recently I have started to look into bachelor degree programs to further my education.

Eventually I met my wife Lyndi who I have been happily married to for 10 years. Lyndi has been a strong supporter of my career and goals. We bought a home in Belmont, and started a family 5 years ago when we had our twin boys Benjamin and Ethan. They keep me on the go and already are addicted to the fire department like their father and grandfather.

In the 10 years of working here in Pittsfield I have been a part of many different projects. I was the head Explorer Post advisor for seven years; I have been the chairman of two replacement ambulance committees, and was also part of the new forestry truck committee. I am the CPR instructor for the department and I am always teaching CPR to different groups within the community. The town of Pittsfield and its residents is what makes me want to come to work every day. Not many people can be proud of what they do and be proud of where they work.

Q: You are a member of other departments. What is your role with them?

A: I am a member of a couple of fire departments; I am a call lieutenant with the Belmont Fire Department and have been there for 10 years. I work directly under one of the full-time lieutenants and supervise six call members. Belmont is a very busy department and if I am on a day off from Pittsfield I am probably running calls in Belmont. Eight years ago I started working as a per-diem firefighter/EMT in the town of Farmington to make some extra money. Well, I am now one of the senior members of the department and work a 24-hour shift there every week. I was involved in helping them design and purchase their newest ambulance due to my back ground with doing this here in Pittsfield.

Q: Do you have a department related goal?

A: As a goal, I would like to see the Pittsfield Fire Department members provide the best customer service possible to the residents of Pittsfield and surrounding communities. The members of the department are proud of what we do and we take this job very serious. To meet this goal it involves members attending trainings/courses to stay up to date with skills and techniques, actively participate in community education programs and community events. I feel it is very important that we take pride and ownership in what we do and I want the community to see this as well.

Fire Chief Rob Martin

Chief Martin has been recently appointed to this position and started on December 3, 2013. We would like to welcome Chief Martin to the department and look forward to working with him.

Q: How long have you been a firefighter/EMT? Please tell us about your background.

A: I began my career as a call firefighter in 1983 with the Pembroke Fire Department. In 1988, I was hired full-time with the Allenstown Fire Department. Between 2001 and 2011, I moved up the ranks to Lieutenant, and then to Captain, and then to Deputy Fire Chief. I was appointed and served as Fire Chief from 2011-2013. The knowledge I received from the department and the town was the greatest experience I could have asked for. All my colleagues, family, and friends have inspired me to be who I am today.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter?

A: I have a long family history in the fire service. My grandfather, uncles, and my father all served with the Pembroke Fire Department. My dad use to bring me to the fire station when I was a young boy. We lived directly behind the fire station and I can remember several times when my dad jumped up when the alarm bells rang for a call. It didn’t matter what time of the day it was–he was ready to answer the call. When I was of age, I was an Explorer briefly with the Concord Fire Department until Pembroke started the Junior Firefighter program. I spent many hours and days learning the trade from some of the best firemen and my dad. I remember leaving school several times for building and brush fires, being one of the first ones to arrive at the station and jumping on the tailboard. That’s right–“tailboard”–buckling in for a ride to the scene. Those were fun times not too long ago. Every night, I use to go to the station with my dad to work on equipment, do house chores, or just sit and listen to the stories the other firemen would share. So, as you can see, I have a long history of the fire service “brotherhood” and that is why I chose this profession

Q: What was the best training you attended?

A: Well, there are so many great trainings I have attended. I would say, the first great training I participated in was Firefighter I when I was just starting out. Once I received my certification I was able to fight fire and go into a burning building with my dad. What a rush! Some of the other trainings that really stick out is the trip to Texas at the “TEEX” school for the “Enhanced All-Hazards Incident Management/Unified Command.” This class is for all disciplines on any field that deals with public safety, school, and health care. I met people from all around the country and the networking we did for the week will always be remembered.

Q: What is your vision for the fire department?

A: My vision for the fire department is to treat people the way you would want people to treat you. I expect people to remember why they joined the fire department and to keep the “brotherhood” going by helping one another.

Lt. Gary Mullen

Lt. Gary Mullen ia a lifelong resident of Pittsfield, Lt. Mullen has been a member for 23 years. He was promoted to the position of Lieutenant in 2008. He also serves on the School Board and is a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter?

A: I saw a flyer on how to serve our community, so I went down to the station and did the paperwork to become member. This was my way of helping the town I live in. I always wanted to help others, so I joined the fire department.

Q: How has the department changed over the years?

A: The department has changed in many ways. The way we do our jobs has changed the most. There are more man-made things today so fires get hotter. The firesuits are better now, so the firefighters can be better protected and advance further into the fire scene. The controls on the trucks have changed from levers to pull for water to buttons to push for the water.

Q: Would you encourage your 9-year-old son to become a firefighter?

A: I would encourage Garrett to be a firefighter. He loves the fire department, so I’d want him to join, but I’ve told him he can be anything he wants to be when he grows up. Helping the town you live in is the best reason why I would encourage him to be a firefighter.

Firefighter Chris Ward

FF Ward joined the department just under two years ago.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter?

A: I’ve always had an appreciation for the fire department and its members. Upon visiting an Open House two years ago I learned a lot about the training and tools required. I felt with my 30 + years of electrical experience it was a great new way to serve my town and its residents.

Q: What aspirations do you have in the fire service?

A: From “day one” I wanted to make a difference. I have learned that in order to be better prepared, we need to be continuously training. I hope to encourage other residents with an interest in serving their community to visit our station. I believe that everyone has something to contribute. I look forward to the physical and mental challenges the fire service demands.

Q: Chris is an example of community service and involvement. He is a lifelong resident of Pittsfield and is the business owner of Ward Electric LLC. What other community groups are you, or have you been, involved with?

A: I served on the PCDC Board of Directors and was on the School Board for 6 years. I was a member of the Rotary Club for 17 years. Pittsfield is a great place to live and raise a family.

FF/EMT Tim Ahearn

Tim has served as a firefighter for twelve years and obtained his EMS certification in 2007.

Q: Why did you become a firefighter?
A: The main reason I became a firefighter was to help people. After being here for a few years, my focus was still on helping people, but the brotherhood was definitely a great reason to stay.

Q: What makes this profession a good fit for you?
A: After serving in the military, I felt this was a great way to do my part to chip in and help the community. I love the team atmosphere and brotherhood of being a firefighter.

Q: What was best training you attended?
A: The best training I attended was actually a few in a series. They dealt with auto extrication and new car construction, focusing on electric and hybrid cars. These pose a huge hazard to firefighters if not handled correctly.

Q: What have you learned while being a firefighter/EMT?
A: I have learned that our job is to meet people on the worst day of their life and it is up to us to make that day better in some way. It’s not always the big things that you do, but instead little things like talking and caring in the back of the ambulance or grabbing a few photographs off the wall before they are gone forever that can really make a difference.

Firefighter Rob Freese

Q: You have been a member of the fire department for almost 31 years. What changes have you seen over the years?

A: I joined the Pittsfield Fire Department the month following my 18th birthday. Prior to that I was an Explorer beginning at age 15. During those early years the Explorer Program was vibrant and the Department had a roster of around 40 members. It was as much a revered social club in the community as it was about the emergencies. The rescue squad was new to the department then. Certifications were rare and I gained my certificate as a certified fire fighter in 1991 as well as becoming a Nationally Registered EMT—those were big deals in those days. My Engineer experience came from guys who were mechanically inclined and I learned a lot from them running a pump by sound and vibrations in the drafting line. I still have a tendency to rely on those skills and use the new fangled electronics as a means to verify my other senses and observations. I have to say I was quite blessed to have seasoned guys take an interest to share their knowledge. I both marvel and yearn when I walk into the station today. The trucks and equipment are much more capable than when I began. Imagine, we used manual tools and were regularly faster than the guys showing up with “Jaws” at extricating patients, but car construction has changed and I am certainly glad we have too… not sure I could cut through an “A” post with a hack saw or pull a windshield like we used to. I am very proud of our little department because of our members, each is amazing and has answered a higher calling to this honorable task. I travel the world in this industry and, believe me, you have every reason to hold your head high. Pittsfield Fire Department is relevant because we change and adapt. No, we don’t have the kind of parties we used to or hang out together in virtually every waking (sometimes sleeping, too) moment, but we have had to evolve and our time is sopped up by all that we need to train, practice, and learn—“Desire to serve” is at our core, but it is no longer good enough; people actually expect us to know what we’re doing. Fortunately, we are not dinosaurs - the Department has changed and it is prepared to meet the challenges of the present and the future. No, actually we are better than that, we are ready to enthusiastically embrace whatever comes our way to the best of our abilities and those are pretty darn strong!!

Q: Please tell us about your role as Pittsfield's Emergency Management Director and the mission of the group.

A: This year I was asked to become the Emergency Management Director for Pittsfield. It seemed like a terrific opportunity. This is a position that I find exciting and one that plays to the strength of experience I have accumulated through life. Every community in NH is required by law to have a person appointed to fulfill this role. Here in Pittsfield it has been traditionally filled by the Fire Chief, Chief of Police, or Chairman of the Board of Selectmen. Each of these three positions have giant responsibility aside from Emergency Management and so there was little time left to dedicate to planning for some eventuality that may or may not ever happen. Thus far, I have used knowledge I gained as a fire fighter, Lieutenant of the Rescue Squad, Deputy Fire Chief, Police Officer, State Police Instructor, appointee by the Governor to The Office of Emergency Management, and certainly my near 25 year exposure to the whole emergency responder community through my work at Globe. In the few short months since I was appointed we have added a new tab on the Town Web Page ( populated with lots of important information, secured new communications equipment, received over $15,000 in grants, established an Emergency Notification System for the town, identified an action plan, and are well underway with a number of other projects. The mission of Emergency Management is to muster all the community’s resources to prevent or mitigate loss of life and property as well as act as liaison to State and Federal authorities for resources and information. If you have friends and family that might be interested in volunteering but can’t quite make the commitment to all the Fire Department requirements, I could really use some help, particularly if they have skills in this area.

Q: What do you like best about the fire service? What is your strength?

The people are the best! You take time from your busy schedule assuming calculated risk to save friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers. The adrenalin rush, the personal challenge to adapt and overcome, the competitiveness within yourself, the environment to be a leader and give/get encouragement—the push to be stronger and better than you ever imagined on your own… all because here you surround yourself with the people who are motivated to the idea of continuous improvement in service to others. It is very personally fulfilling.

I am a believer in everything happening for a reason. A few years ago I went through a bout with and survived cancer. During those days I learned a lot about myself and at my core who I am. That experience taught me to appreciate life and to love the people around me. I have a passion to help other people change, grow, and be successful, and in exchange I’ve learned that I change and grow, too. The Pittsfield Fire Department has been a safe and supportive place to be myself.

[The Pittsfield Fire Department and PFFA are extremely appreciative of the support offered by Rob, his family, and the employees at Globe Manufacturing Company. The effects of their kindness and generosity are far reaching into the community - by supporting the members of the fire department, we are better able to assist the community. Thank you, Rob.

FF/EMT Kristen Ahearn

Q: How long have you been a Firefighter/EMT? How long have you been with the Pittsfield Fire Department?
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.

Q: 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 very smoothly.

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 Association?
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” series.

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 EMS situations.

Q: What has been the best training you attended?
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 firefighter/EMT?
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 reward.

Q: Do you have a fire department related goal?
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 ultimate achievement.

FF/EMT Lyle Deane

Q. How long have you been a firefighter/EMT?
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 others.

Q. Do you have a fire department related goal?
A. To eventually become an officer and serve as an effective leader with the Pittsfield Fire Department.


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