Firefighter II training completed at WVU Fire Academy | News

Eighteen individuals completed Firefighter II training at the WVU Fire Academy the weekend of April 10. Eleven of those are from Lewis County, with six completing Firefighter I and Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations training in March.

Training this time focused on structure fires, vehicle fires, extrication, and search patterns, such as how to search for occupants in a structure during a fire and the importance of staying low whenever possible.

Instructor Donnie Lindsey, assistant chief for the Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department, talked to the participants about how more is expected at this level of training and how chiefs expect more. He said Firefighter II training is designed to simulate real-world situations and teach how to function together.

Participants were tasked with putting out fires in the burn trailer, which is used to simulate a structure fire. The trailer also helps teach important skills such as working as a team.

“It’s why we rely on communication,” instructor Matt Reed said.

Bradley Byers, a member of the Jackson’s Mill VFD, completed Firefighter II in this class. He graduates from Lewis County High School this year, and his goal is to enter the Air Force as a firefighter. He said he would like to take Fire Officer classes whenever they open up. He is currently working for Upshur County EMS.

Seth Carpenter, also with the Jackson’s Mill VFD and also graduating this year, plans to join the Marines, leaving June 21. He wants to take as many Fire Academy classes as he can, but is not going into firefighting in the military. He said he will run calls when he is home on leave, though. His reason for joining the VFD, he said, is Byers, but now he is glad he did.

“I love it,” he said.

Caleb Hughes grew up around the fire station, as his father is a member of the Jackson’s Mill VFD. Hughes said that after he turns 18, he wants to get into Fire Officer classes, and he plans to stick with volunteer firefighting after graduation, when he intends to become a welder.

Harley Francis is a member of the Walkersville VFD and graduates this year, as well. He plans to go into the fire service, but he’s not sure where yet. Francis said he never questioned himself about wanting to be a firefighter, knowing it is not meant for everyone.

“I like helping people whenever I can,” he said.

Along with Lindsey and Reed, Lt. Steve Hines from the Elkins Fire Department and Mike Hart were on hand providing instruction. Hines has been an adjunct instructor for 13 years. He and Lindsey said they were fortunate to have instructors who took time with them and taught them well.

“Someone invested time to teach me the right way. It’s kind of full circle,” Hines said.

Lindsey echoed those sentiments, adding that being an instructor helps keep his own skills sharp.

“I was fortunate enough to have great instructors when I was young. It’s a ‘pay it forward’ type thing,” Lindsey said.

For more information on how to become a firefighter, contact a local fire department. There are six volunteer fire departments in Lewis County, and all are in need of members.

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