From the Middletown Insider staff: Congrats to Captain Howley!
Office of the Chief
SOUTH FIRE DISTRICT
445 Randolph Road
Middletown, CT 06457
For Immediate Release
Contact: Chief Robert J. Ross, South Fire District
After serving for 10 years as a member of the State of Connecticut Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Team, Captain Michael Howley of Middletown’s South District Fire Department has been given a leadership role in the statewide organization. Howley has been appointed as one of three Task Force Leaders from among a pool of six candidates. The new role will be in addition to Captain Howley’s fulltime position as Training Officer and Third-In-Command at South Fire District.
After receiving the news, Howley said, “I consider it a high honor for me and the South District Fire Department”. Howley added, “The training I have received during my 10 years with Urban Search and Rescue is truly unique and has been invaluable in my day-to-day role at South District”.
The Urban Search and Rescue Team, headquartered at Brainard Airport in Hartford, is made up of firefighters, police officers and civilians, each with specialized skills, who serve with the statewide agency in addition to their regular employment. The team is part of the State of Connecticut, Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. Howley says members participate in training exercises on nights and weekends at least once per month.
Announcement of Howley’s appointment came from William P. Shea, Deputy Commissioner of the State’s Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. In a memo announcing the appointment of Howley and the two other successful applicants, Shea stated “all have tremendous skills, background and expertise to serve as US&R Task Force Leaders”. Shea said the appointments are effective immediately. Click to continue reading
This is the second time this summer that Captain Howley has distinguished himself. Recently he was certified as a “Fire Service Chief Executive Officer” by Texas A & M University. Captain Howley received the certification after completing an intensive, week-long training program, at the University’s Mays Business School in College Station, Texas. To be allowed into the program applicants had to previously complete several levels of Fire Officer Training, which Howley did at the Connecticut Fire Training Academy and at the University of Alabama Fire College.
South District Fire Chief Robert J. Ross, who served as a Task Force Leader himself from 2005-2007 said “I am well aware of the time commitment and responsibility that comes with this appointment.
Captain Howley will serve the team well in this leadership position and I am pleased that he and others selected are willing to make the personal commitment needed to the team. Those who are in need of a response from the Urban Search and Rescue Team will be well cared for.”
David P. Gallitto, Chairman of the South District Board of Fire Commissioners added, “Having Captain Howley complete his training program and be recognized by the State with his appointment to a leadership post with the Urban Search and Rescue Team is a feather in the cap for the South Fire District”. Gallito went on to say, “his accomplishments are a true indication of his dedication to his craft and to the health and safety of the residents of South Fire District”.
The Connecticut Urban Search and Rescue Team operates a fleet of specialized vehicles which carry equipment that can be utilized to assist local officials with all types of large scale emergencies, including collapsed buildings, large area searches and swift water rescues. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Howley says, “a Task Force of team members was deployed to East Haven to assist local official in a systematic search, looking for possible victims, in the rubble of destroyed homes along the shore”. During the record snowstorms of January and February 2011, team members were deployed to several communities across the state, including Middletown to assist with the search of collapse of buildings. Locally, the US&R team also responded to assist in the search for victims after the Kleen Energy Plant explosion.
With regard to his certification from Texas A & M University, Captain Howley said he was among two dozen fire service officers from across the country that attended the program and was the only fire officer from New England in attendance. Howley said “the daily seminars led by Texas A & M professors required active participation by those attending the sessions”. According to Howley, “sharing of experiences and what works and doesn’t work in other fire departments continued beyond the 10 hours of daily classroom time as all of the attendees lived in the same hotel and had their meals together for the entire week”. This was the fourth training program offered by Texas A & M’s Engineering Extension Service that Howley has participated in.
Captain Howley joined the South District Fire Department as a firefighter in 1995. Prior to being promoted to Captain in August of last year, Howley spent nearly 12 years as a Lieutenant and Shift Supervisor at South District. Captain Howley also holds numerous certifications as Fire Service Officer and Instructor and earlier this year he completed the EMS (Emergency Medical Service) Instructors Training Course.
South District Fire Department is one of only two career fire departments in Middlesex County and covers a district of 21 square miles or half of Middletown’s 42 square miles. South District firefighters respond to an average of 2,500 calls annually for fires, medical emergencies, accidents, water rescues and hazardous material incidents. The South Fire District ranges from the busy commercial corridors along South Main Street and East Main Street to the rugged hills of Maromas and included within its borders are two of the state’s largest power generating plants (NRG and Kleen Energy), one of the state’s largest industrial facilities (Pratt and Whitney) and the largest concentration of medical offices in Middlesex County along Saybrook Rd.
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