Training volunteer firefighters requires thirty-six hours of certification, which typically takes months to complete due to class availability and volunteers’ schedules. The demands of the training have often left Ohio’s fire departments (70 percent of which are staffed by volunteers) with a shortage of manpower. In an effort to make the training more accessible and efficient, the state Department of Commerce’s
recently offered a new program that enabled volunteers to complete the training in an intensive course over two consecutive weekends. Twenty-six volunteers learned basic skills such as familiarity with personal protective equipment, ventilation for fire control, use of hoses, ladders, fire extinguishers and water supplies. Initial feedback from the participants was very positive and the state will now reach out to local fire chiefs and instructors in the coming weeks to evaluate the program’s success before deciding whether to expand it in the future.