By Kristen Levine, Reporter
Thirteen of the volunteers who make up the Princeton Fire Department underwent training to become emergency medical technicians (EMTs) recently, including Fire Chief John Bennett.
According to paramedic David Wiggins, “There were more people that had interest and initiative to take EMT classes…The department is always happy to have people that show initiative, especially during Covid; it’s a brave thing that they do.”
Two of the newly certified EMTs are paramedic of 22 years Ted Flanagan and Princeton firefighter Megean Mulcahey, a five-year department veteran. Flanagan also works as a firefighter and paramedic in the West Boylston fire department as well as teaching at Anna Maria College in Health Emergency Management.
“I’ve done flight medicine, urban 911,” he said. “I love that the most challenging medicine happens in a place like Princeton for a paramedic. That’s the challenge of rural medicine. Combine everything, the natural beauty of the town, the fact that the department is so well-run…volunteerism is dying everywhere, but it’s not a malicious reason, people are just busy. I always say that the Princeton Fire Department is a throwback; in Princeton the volunteer sentiment is alive and well….the fire department and ambulance will assist on every call. Princeton still has that ethos and culture that a lot of places can’t have because people aren’t available anymore.”
Mulcahey has been newly minted as an EMT as of July, though she has been a firefighter with the department since 2016.
“I got on to the department as of September 2016 as a recruit firefighter, hoping to go to the academy,” she said. “I moved from Worcester to Princeton at that time by myself, looking to get a new adventure. I was excited to make the jump…I ended up getting on to Princeton. The entire crew took me in, taught me how to do things and sent me to the academy.”
Mulcahey is also in a master’s program for acupuncture, with fire fighting as her part-time work, which she likes to refer to as her “fun job.”
“I always knew I wanted to be an EMT; that was my goal starting out, I was just never able to obtain the national registry until now. With tons of support from the officers in Princeton Fire I was able to get my EMT certification and finish with the national exam. I had tremendous help from Brandy [DeBarge, a member of Princeton Fire Department as a paramedic, full-time medic, and chief training instructor] … she’s a superstar for teaching EMS.”
Both EMTs look forward to bright futures with the Princeton department, bringing their skills in service to the town. Mulcahey hopes to open her acupuncture business and stay within the Princeton area, while Flanagan looks to continue his medical services until retirement.
“I want to stay as long as I possibly can,” Mulcahey said. “My significant other grew up in Princeton and we don’t want to leave it, and I’m hoping to stay in the department. I have no aspirations right now to be anything higher than what I am now, and there’s a lot to learn as a firefighter and EMT…. it’s a great thing for right now.”
“I intend to be here as long as they’ll have me,” Flanagan said. “I’ve worked pretty much every model of EMS you can work. Princeton fits me like a glove and I’m perfectly happy to keep doing it. It’s a great department, a great time, and it’s a fun service to be part of.”
Ted Flanagan and Megean Mulcahy are two of the 13 Princeton Fire Department volunteers who recently underwent training to become emergency medical technicians (EMTs).