RICHMOND - A group of firefighters from several Jefferson County departments attended a training seminar during April to learn about responses to oilfield emergencies.
The training session is part of an ongoing series being presented through the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program at the Wayne County Fire and Rescue training facility in Applecreek.
The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program is sponsored by Ohio's natural gas and crude oil producers.
Information from the group notes that Ohio already has 64,000 producing crude oil and natural gas wells, most of which are concentrated in the eastern part of the state, and that's before the upcoming shale gas drilling boom.
The seminar included everything from information about dealing with specific natural gas fires one could find on a drill site to terminology and operations of a drilling rig.
The course also counts toward a firefighter's required continuing education credits.
Salem Township Trustee Terry Bell said the firefighters learned a variety of the different response techniques that will be very important as more drill sites open in the coming months.
He said among the lessons is that extinguishing a well fire requires chemical foam, which can cost as much as $100 for a five-gallon bucket, and rural fire departments would need thousands of gallons to extinguish a single well site fire.
He said a major driller has agreed to donate a large quantity of the foam to be kept at the Richmond Volunteer Fire Department for use by the Jefferson County Tanker Task Force.
"The biggest thing about an oil fire or a methane fire is that you have to know what to do and when to do it, or what
not to do and when not to do it," Bell said.
He said the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program waived costs for the 14 Jefferson County firefighters to attend the school.
Among those who attended, Bell said, were Toronto firefighters Ryan Boyd, Matthew Gooch, William Scheel and Jeff Yeager; Bloomingdale firefighters Dean Channels and Carl Hopkins; Unionport fire Capt. William Grable and Chief James Westfall; Richmond Assistant Chief Eric Jeffers and Capt. Jason Nelson; Assistant Chief Bruce Millick of the Belvedere Fire Department; Capt. Dwayne Morley of the Bergholz Fire Department; Jay Peterson and Assistant Chief Clyde Still Jr. of the New Alexandria Fire Department.
The Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program will hold training workshops for oilfield emergency response again in October and November.
(Giannamore may be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.)