Stark County firefighters attend free training on oil and gas incident response

December 18, 2018

Canton, Ohio Community Corner.

A recent two-day training provided Ohio firefighters with best practices and tactics for managing oil field and natural gas events. The 2018 Ohio Firefighter Academies, also known as the Oilfield Emergency Response Training Program, are provided free by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) to help Ohio firefighters keep communities safe and connect them to an energy industry that is important to Ohio.

Captain Kyle Wilkens and firefighter Ian Vandegrift from the East Sparta Volunteer Fire Department in Stark County joined peers from across Ohio for classroom presentations, activities and “hands-on fire behavior labs” that offered insight into how oil and gas is explored, drilled and produced, and the importance of establishing a unified command in the event of an emergency. The program is held at the OOGEEP outdoor fire-behavior lab within the Wayne County Regional Fire and Rescue Training Facility, and is endorsed by the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association, Ohio Society of Fire Service Instructors and Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation.

“In 18 years, we have trained more than 1,500 firefighters from Ohio and seven other states,” said Rhonda Reda, OOGEEP Executive Director. “Our pioneering training program utilizes state-certified instructors and our curriculum brings together Ohio’s oil and gas industry, government regulators, firefighters and emergency response experts. Firefighters across the country look at our Firefighters Academies as a model training program.”

The United States Fire Administration notes there are currently 1,167 registered fire departments in the Ohio, of which 61 percent are staffed by volunteer personnel. Through the generosity of Ohio’s oil and gas producers, there is no cost for firefighters to attend the class.

In addition to the education and hands-on training, attendees received a certificate of attendance, field guide, spill response kit, Class B Foam and other materials that can be utilized by their departments. Participants also received documentation for up to 12 CEU contact credit hours.

By Mark Rickel. 

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