PARKERSBURG - Area firefighters will be working this weekend to add new skills and hone old ones during the 2013 Wood County Fire School.
The fire school program, which is being held primarily at Parkersburg South High School, began Friday night and runs through Sunday with classes at various locations in Wood County through classroom instruction and hands-on training, said Mark Stewart, chief of the Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department and chairman of the fire school.
About 220 firefighters- both paid and volunteer - are participating in the fire school this weekend from Wood County and from other departments in West Virginia and Ohio.
Photo by Wayne Towner
John Smoot, chief of the Teays Valley Fire Department, teaches a class on reading smoke Friday at Parkersburg South High School as part of the Wood County Fire School program.
Stewart said the fire school program has been going on for about 50 years in Wood County, providing valuable training for firefighters at all levels.
"The Wood County Fire School was originally set up for Wood County firefighters, and then the word got out and we started drawing in from all over the state (of West Virginia)," he said.
While much of the work this weekend will involve classroom instruction, there will be sessions of training in the Lubeck VFD's smoke trailer and the controlled burn of a Boaz area home on Williams Highway Friday and today for live training.
Stewart said the highlight of the weekend's training for the firefighters is a pair of programs featuring retired chief Alan Brunacini of the Phoenix Fire Department in Arizona. Brunacini served with the Phoenix department from 1958-2006, serving in every department position. He was promoted to chief in 1978 and served the city of Phoenix until he retired in 2006.
Stewart said Brunacini is recognized for his development of the Incident Command System and Customer Service for the fire service. He will be hosting a roundtable discussion tonight at the Lubeck VFD and will be teaching a leadership class Sunday at PSHS.
This year's Fire School consists of classes for every level of firefighter, from new to advanced level to company officers.
"There are many devoted firefighters in Wood County and in the state of West Virginia who strive to learn new technology and tactics to protect the people they serve," Stewart said.
Classes of instruction this year include The Art of Reading Smoke; Basic and Advanced Firefighting; Mastering Fireground Command; High Angle Rope Rescue; Vehicle Crash; Motorcycle Crash; Emergency Vehicle Driving; Basic Pumps and Engine Operations; Officer Development; Rescue Scenarios; Rapid Intervention Team; The Truck Company; and Financial Management for Fire Departments.
Stewart said this weekend's program is not just for current firefighters, but can also provide information for potential firefighters.
"If you have thought about becoming a firefighter in Wood County, feel free to stop in and check out what we do," he said. "Someone will be glad to show you around and let you see, first-hand, what being a firefighter is all about."
The Fire School is sponsored by the Wood County Firefighters Association, Wood County Commission, RESA V and PSHS, with the assistance of all 11 fire departments in Wood County.