Firefighters to attend training school next weekend

WELLSBURG – Hundreds of firefighters are expected to turn out for training, ranging from the extrication of accident victims from wrecked vehicles to responding to fires at illegal meth labs, at the 15th-annual Upper Ohio Valley Fire and Rescue School next weekend.

The event will be held Saturday and March 24 at Brooke High School sponsored by the Hooverson Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Regional Education Service Agency VI, Brooke County Board of Education, Wheeling-Nisshin Corp., West Virginia Division of Technical and Adult Education, A.V. Lauttamus Communications and Brooke-Hancock Local Emergency Planning Commission.

The cost is $35 for the one-day meth lab course and $60 or $65 for the other two-day courses held during the weekend, with an additional materials fee required for some.

Most classes involve hands-on activities held at various locations, and participants are required to bring special gear. For information, including updates on classes with open seats, visit the school’s website at

Among the school’s new offerings is an advanced all-terrain vehicle rescue course. Taught by Tim Arthurs, a firefighter and paramedic from Logan County with more than 20 years of experience, the course will cover responding to an ATV accident, from using a global positioning system to locate victims to safely conveying them from secluded sites using another ATV.

Another new course will cover rescuing injured hunters in tree stands using rope and will be taught by R.C. Fellows, a long-time firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Brilliant Fire Department.

Over the years the school’s instructors have included many experienced local firefighters and medical personnel as well as a number of visitors with extensive knowledge of emergency response.

A frequent guest who will be returning this year is Colliers native Richard Gasaway, who will teach a course on leading fire departments that will include 10 common mistakes that have resulted in firefighters being killed and how they can be avoided.

Gasaway is a retired chief of the Roseville, Minn., Fire Department. He was the 30th fire chief to be accredited by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and was appointed to the review board for the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor.

Several vendors of assorted fire and rescue equipment also will be on hand at the school.

Several area fire departments have assisted with the event. They include the Franklin Community Volunteer Fire Department, which will run the concession stand; and the Wellsburg Volunteer Fire Department, which organizes the hospitality night, an opportunity for participants to socialize, at its social hall.

(Scott can be contacted at