As State Fire Marshal, I am very cognizant of the value and contribution that the Corps of Fire Chaplains play in support of the fire service in Massachusetts. The Corps provides training for its members and facilitates chaplain mutual aid for large scale or long-term incidents. Chaplains are trained to provide counseling to firefighters and are part of the critical incident stress management teams. Chaplains are also able assist individual firefighters with issues affecting home or work. Firefighting is a difficult and dangerous job and the chaplains can help us take care of our own. The contributions of the Chaplains are seen throughout the state; two horrific events clearly illustrate the legacy of the Corp. The first includes their deployment to New York City in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. The second is the1999 Worcester Cold Storage Warehouse fire was an awful incident that took the lives of six firefighters. Fire chaplains from around the state responded to support the firefighters attempting to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades, the fire and police investigators working to determine the cause of the fire, the families who had lost loved ones, and the firefighters who had lost co-workers and life-long friends. As the difficult days stretched on, it was clear that no one chaplain could provide all the support that so many needed. From those dark days emerged the more formal network of the Massachusetts Corps of Fire Chaplains.
State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan