Local News

Mark Foote becomes Killington’s first full-time paid firefighter


Mark Foote, 30, became the department’s first full time paid firefighter (other than the chief),  as well as the head of the EMS program at the end of April.

“My medical first response kind of career, if you will, started when I was 16 years old,” Foote said. “I’m not a native to Killington, even though I like to say I am. My family has had property here since ‘94. We have a place over next to Pico. I started skiing at Killington two weeks before my second birthday. I joined the Hopefuls race program when I was 6. I raced for Killington for 10 years. When I got done with that I wanted something to keep me out on the hill, so I joined ski patrol and I worked ski patrol at Killington for 10 years… Even though I’m from the Boston area, this has always been kind of home,” he said.

“I moved up full time at the beginning of the pandemic. One of my friends who I’ve known for years and years and years, joined the fire department, and he said, ‘Hey, you should join the fire department with me.’ I did that almost three years ago,” he continued.

“I got my EMT last year and literally yesterday I got my certification for Fire 1 and 2,” Foote said, May 11. “Our class started in the second or third week of August and the final test was April 30,” he said, clarifying that Fire 1 went from Aug. to Jan. and Fire 2 from Jan. through the end of April.

When asked what the certifications taught him, he explained: “Fire 1 gets you interior; putting wet stuff on the red stuff,” he summarized. “And doing search and rescue — how to  rescue somebody trapped in a burning building. Fire 2 gets more into some of the specialized things,” he said citing examples including work with hazardous materials, fighting fire with foam, taking control of the scene and how to allocate or call for resources as needed. 

“So Fire 1 is ‘I just I want to go inside and I want to fight fire.’ Fire 2 is more logistics. Because there are a lot of logistics to fighting a fire,” he summarized.

After Fire 1 and 2, more specialized classes are offered for advanced training. “There’s all types of specialty courses,” he said. 

Foote said he felt “relieved” when he was notified last month that he’d gotten the full-time job with Killington Fire and Rescue. 

“I mean, I went to college to be an engineer. I have a computer engineering degree. I didn’t grow up saying I want to be a career firefighter. I grew up saying I want to be an engineer, specifically computer engineering,” he explained of the circuitous route his career path had taken. “But this opportunity presented itself and I said, ‘Hey, you know what, I love this place so much and I want to have a way to be able to give back to the community that gave so much to me. I really kind of fell into it, doing the volunteer thing. Then when the changeover happened …  I said, ‘Oh, all right, I’ll throw my hat into the ring. If I can do a little bit more for the community, then I’m all about it.”

While still new to his role as a full-time employee, Foote was confident in both the direction of the department and the resources he had to help him succeed. 

“I think there’s nothing but opportunity in front of us,” he said. “You know, I’m gonna have hiccups. Glenn and I are going to figure things out together; what works, what doesn’t work. I certainly never envisioned that I was going to be running First Response, that I was going to be the head of EMS. So, I’m doing a lot of learning. 

“I am fortunate that I have a lot of really great resources around: Chris is very knowledgeable, Glenn’s very knowledgeable, my head of service in Fair Haven, Wendy Fitzgerald is one of the District 10 training coordinators for Killington, Chittenden, Rutland, Fair Haven, Castleton, and West Haven, the whole district. She’s one of the big ‘muckety mucks’ and I had worked on the ambulance for them full time since the beginning of October, so she’s a great resource,” he continued. “When I’m not sure about something I can call … They say the sign of a good leader is surrounding themselves with intelligent people, right? And knowing when to call on them. And I’m just so incredibly grateful that I have such an amazing support system to help me build Killington first response on the EMS side up to where we need it to be.”

Foote is also responsible for training EMS volunteers — both with in-house trainings or bringing in certified instructors when needed.

“A good example is, in a couple months here, when we need to do CPR, I’m not a CPR instructor. So I’ll bring in a CPR instructor who’ll re-cert everybody’s CPR. 

“We got to develop now a training program on the medical side, and make sure that the training program hits the appropriate continuing education credits for everybody.”

When asked how he typically spends his 40 hours a week in the office, he said.

“First, I’m figuring out what the state needs from us. All all EMS services are issued a license by the state and those licenses are valid for three years. Ours happens to be coming up at the end of the year, so we’re gonna have to reapply by Dec. 31 in order to continue as a EMS licensed operator for first response. So my big focus right now is: What records do we have? What does the state need? What do I need to do to make sure that next year, we’re still in a position to be serving the community?” he said.

“Secondary to that is just going through everything we have. When I was just a baby EMT at the bottom of the totem pole, I wasn’t necessarily going through every thread and stitch because I had people above me who handled those things. In these early stages I’m familiarizing myself very, very, very intimately with every single needle stitch for all of the medical equipment and just trying to build a solid foundation that we can springboard off of moving forward.”

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