Norristown Municipal Council Tuesday night swore in Bret Baker to be a full-time firefighter with the Norristown Fire Department after offering him a conditional offer of employment at its Feb. 18 work session. Baker is a veteran of the emergency services field who, at just 29 years old, has 15 years of experience as a firefighter and EMT in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
Municipal Council President Derrick Perry administered the oath of office to Baker with the support of his colleagues in the Norristown Fire Department and his wife, Casey.
“I’m excited to work with the forward-thinking, professional department this is Norristown Fire Department,” said Baker. “I want to develop my own set of skills, get promoted through the ranks, learn, be safe, and help the residents of Norristown.”
Baker is a first generation firefighter who started his career at the age of 15 in 2005 as a volunteer with Minquas Fire Company No.2 of Downingtown. In 2011, he moved to West Chester and joined First West Chester Fire Company as a volunteer firefighter. In July 2013 he accepted a job offer as a full-time career firefighter with Montgomery County Fire Rescue Services in Montgomery County, Maryland. He spent over six years there as a career firefighter/EMT before accepting the full-time position of firefighter with the Norristown Fire Department.
His career also included stints as a part-time firefighter/EMT with Manheim Township Fire & Rescue in Lancaster from 2014 until 2018. In late 2018 he started a part-time position as a firefighter/EMT for the Phoenixville Fire Department where he is still active.
Baker has earned dozens of state-level firefighter and EMT certifications in Pennsylvania and Maryland. He has retained his Pennsylvania state EMT certification since August 2006 and earned equivalency certification as a Maryland State EMT in 2013 while attending the Montgomery County 26-week long Career Fire Academy.
Some of his certifications include Pennsylvania’s Firefighter 1 certification in January 2009 and Firefighter 2 certification in March of 2011 and he was re-certified in these classes through MFRI (Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute) in 2013; Hazardous Materials Operations Level - March 2009 (Requires annual re-certification); Water Rescue, Emergency Boat Operations & Rescue- April 2010; Vehicle Rescue Operations - September 2010; Basic Vehicle Rescue Technician - November 2010; Fire Service Instructor 1, Incident Safety Officer, Emergency Vehicle Operator and Pump Operations I & II- all earned in March 2011; and Aerial Apparatus Driver/Operator - September 2016.
Chief O’Donnell said he was proud to welcome Firefighter Baker and his wife to the municipal family and wanted to thank and acknowledge both Norristown Municipal Council and Municipal Administrator Crandall Jones for their commitment to making the community safer by hiring additional firefighters and for making the Norristown Fire Department one of the most respected fire departments in the region.
Baker’s first year of field training with the department will be completed at Norris and Montgomery fire stations.