Annual firefighter school helps local departments

Last weekend, more than 1,200 volunteer firefighters from Northwest Ohio converged at Bowling Green State University to partake in The Northwestern Ohio Volunteer Firemen’s Association annual fire school.

Numerous volunteer firefighters from Seneca County attended the two-day school, which included classes on medical to agricultural emergencies, methamphetamine labs, hazardous materials, weapons of mass destruction, fire and explosion investigations, military and commercial aircraft crash response and Homeland Security issues.

“We brought a lot of things back to our department here,” said Bascom Fire Chief Harry Miller, who attended the school.

Miller said 11 volunteer firefighters and EMTs from Bascom attended the classes this year. Firefighters even took a truck to the campus to use for a pump class and a rural water class, he said.

“It’s good for new guys to get the opportunity to take the truck up there and put it in a class,” Miller said.

Miller said Bascom firefighters and EMTs usually attend the school each year, which helps them meet state-mandated training hours.

“The biggest thing is, it’s free,” he said.

Miller said he took a class on rapid-decision making, which taught firefighters how to “read” smoke.

“One of my other guys took a structural firefighting class,” Miller said. “He said it was very knowledgeable.”

Class topics change each year, Miller said, providing firefighters with the latest firefighting tools and information.

“Classes change every year, we had five different ones (this year),” said fire school co-chair Bob Warnamount. “Anytime you do hands-on, that’s what the guys and ladies enjoy.”

One of the classes this year covered water shuttle training. Firefighters had two types of tankers and they learned how fast water can be moved and different ways to do it.

“You learn new things. What’s really great about it, you meet new people who might have same problem you have in your area,” Warnamount said.

“What’s really neat, it’s a free school,” he said. “We never turn anyone away; anyway we can help the community.”

Warnamount said the school has been held annually for 50 years.

“We’re working on next year’s already,” he said.