Training Center Cape May firefighter named service’s best

CAPE MAY, N.J. – A local Coast Guardsman has been selected as the Coast Guard’s Firefighter of the Year for his service aboard Training Center Cape May and in the surrounding community.

Petty Officer Michael Filippone, 23, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was selected from the service’s more than 800 damage controlmen. Filippone responded to more than 400 calls for emergency services in 2011 aboard Training Center Cape May, Coast Guard family housing and in nearby municipalities.

“I wouldn’t have been selected if it weren’t for our awesome crew,” said Filippone. “It looks like all of our hard work has paid off.”

Filippone responded to two major emergency calls in the nearby community involving a dryer fire at a local laundry mat and a brush fire involving two acres near local residences. His actions during the firefighting efforts were instrumental resulting in minimal property loss and no significant injuries. Filippone also volunteers for the Stone Harbor Volunteer Fire Department and was instrumental in the safe evacuation of Training Center Cape May and Coast Guard family housing prior to Hurricane Irene.

“Petty Officer Filippone is a great firefighter who is making an impact in the Coast Guard and in the community,” said Mr. Chris Walters, Chief of the Coast Guard Training Center Cape May Fire Department. “He exhibited superior knowledge and leadership capabilities above his pay grade directing his engine crew during hundreds of emergency responses.”

During National Fire Prevention Week 2011, Filippone organized and implemented a fire-safety outreach program, which educated over 100 military children on the dangers of fire and the importance of home evacuation drills. Filippone also volunteered to teach kindergarteners fire safety and emergency preparedness during National Fire Prevention Week at Middle Township Elementary School.

The Training Center Cape May Fire Department was also selected from five other Coast Guard fire departments as the service’s fire department of the year.

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