Training targets emergencies at Ohio’s oilfields
Firefighters from across Ohio, including personnel from three local departments, recently received hands-on natural gas and oil training at the new Wayne County Fire and Rescue Regional Training Facility recently, courtesy of the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program.
The multi-day training, “Responding to Oilfield Emergencies,” is provided to first responders at no-cost by Ohio’s natural gas and oil producers and was the first to take place following a $150,000 OOGEEP donation to build two classrooms for the new, state-of-the-art facility.
OOGEEP’s award-winning training exceeds state and federal fire safety standards and was the first program of its kind developed in the nation. In its 20th year, 19 firefighters were trained, bringing the total trained to more than 1,500 firefighters and first responders. The two-day training includes experience classroom presentations, virtual reality tabletop exercises and live outdoor fire behavior labs.
Local firefighters who attended the training were Trevor Willoughby, Weathersfield Fire Department; Roger Bruce, Southington Fire Department; and Derek Hollander and Caleb Richmond, Brookfield Fire Department.
“There is no better class around,” Richmond said. “(The class) is the most realistic class I have ever taken. I learned so much that I have never even thought of.”
OOGEEP’s training was collaboratively developed by natural gas and oil industry experts, regulatory agencies, firefighters and emergency responders. The training teaches common practices, references and standards used by the fire service and the natural gas and oil industry. It is designed to provide insight into how natural gas and oil is explored, drilled, produced and transported, as well as the importance of establishing a unified command in the event of an unlikely emergency.
“As an industry, safety always comes first and we’re focused on ensuring fire departments across Ohio have the tools, training and expertise to respond to any type of event, no matter how unlikely it may be,” said John Schlichter, OOGEEP executive director. “Natural gas and oilfield emergencies are rare, but it is critical that firefighters know how to respond and we are proud to be able to offer this award-winning training at absolutely no cost.”
The training program is endorsed by the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association, the Ohio Society of Fire Service Instructors and the Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation. Instructors include a team of 11-plus state certified fire instructors, emergency responders and industry experts with more than 500 years of combined experience in the natural gas and oil industry and / or fire service.