Fire school offers variety of training

WELLSBURG – Hundreds of firefighters from the Tri-State Area and beyond are expected to turn out for the 16th-annual Upper Ohio Valley Fire and Rescue School this weekend at Brooke High School.

The two-day event is sponsored by the Hooverson Heights Volunteer Fire Department, Regional Educational Service Agency VI, the Brooke County Board of Education, Wheeling-Nisshin Inc., West Virginia Division of Technical and Adult Education, A.V. Lauttamus Communications and Brooke-Hancock Local Emergency Planning Commission.

Registration forms and information may be found at the event’s website at Updates on classes’ availability and other information also can be found at the school’s Facebook page at Upper Ohio Valley Fire and Rescue Scool.

Classes offered to beginning and experienced firefighters through the school over the years often reflect changes in issues and situations faced by emergency personnel.

In addition to offering training in basis structure firefighting, auto rescue and fire investigation, the school in recent years has added courses in responding to fires involving meth labs and accidents with all-terrain vehicles.

This year a course will focus on hazards encountered when fighting fires in homes belonging to hoarders.

It will be taught by Ryan Pennington, a firefighter and paramedic with the Charleston Fire Department and member of the West Virginia Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team. Pennington is a contributing editor for, for which he has produced numerous articles, blogs and podcasts, and was featured in the July 2010 issue of Firehouse magazine.

Pennington is one of many visiting and locally based instructors who have shared their experience and expertise with firefighters at the school.

Other instructors this year include Tim Arthurs, a firefighter and paramedic in Logan County for 20 years, who will teach the ATV rescue course; Joe Bennett, a former director of training and safety for the Clarksburg Fire Department, who will teach a course on firefighter survival; and Richard Gasaway, a Colliers native who went on to serve as chief of the Roseville, Minn., Fire Department.

Accredited by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and appointed to the review board for the Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor, Gasaway has contributed to more than 400 books on various aspects of firefighting and fire department management.

Gasaway will present a course on barriers that can prevent firefighters from accurately assessing their situation and lead to catastrophe.

Vendors specializing in a variety of firefighting equipment also will be on hand at the school.

(Scott can be contacted at