According to Wayne Township Fire Rescue Chief Chris Wysong, three new volunteer firefighters with Wayne along with several other local firefighters recently completed “Firefighter One” certification.
Wysong explained the course for the certification began in October of last year. Those taking part in the course had to attend class every Saturday and two nights per week.
The certification goes above the state’s minimum requirements for volunteer firefighters however, Wysong explained, “we increased the minimum certification requirements for Wayne Township members to provide better trained members.”
“Volunteer firefighters have been hard to find in the area who are willing to dedicate the time required to become certified and stay proficient,” he explained. “Our department caps a maximum of 15 members. This maximum number saves taxpayers money. Each member is an investment, and there is a cost involved to provide communication and personal protective equipment. We have changed our staffing focus from quantity to quality.”
The cost of the certification course was covered through grants from the State Fire Marshal’s office, according to Wysong, which “allows more training for new firefighters at no cost to the departments.”
“Our budget creates limitations to increase equipment expansions, so we focus on available grant funding,” he explained. “Even though we may not have the most equipment, we strive to be the highest trained and still can be a great resource on an emergency scene.”
The three newest members are Jimmy Wysong, Karl Manor and Miguel Penwell. With these three additional firefighters, the department now has 15 total volunteers—one of which is a retired firefighter who acts as an accountability and safety assistance volunteer.
As volunteers, each member has a regular job in the community but responds to calls when they come in. Wysong explained they go to the firehouse to get equipment and then travel to the location of the scene. The department also has monthly meetings and trainings.
Last year, Wysong explained they responded to 85 calls, approximately 25 percent of which were fires. They also provide mutual aid to neighboring departments and request mutual aid when needed.
The three newest members along with two other recently certified firefighters will be attending a Hazardous Material Technician course that the Fayette County Emergency Management Agency will soon be hosting, according to Wysong.
Wysong explained that other firefighters who were certified included Concord-Green Township Fire Department’s Skyler Harner, BPM Joint Fire Department’s Jackson Perkins, Pic-A-Fay Joint Fire Department’s Danny Mason, along with three individuals who are currently not in a department but were sponsored through the course: Liam Downing, Nathan Kulwein and Kale Howard.
“We are proud of our members and the selfless service they provide helping the community,” explained Wysong. “We will never stop training as we look forward to keep raising the standard to better serve our community.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355 or on Twitter @JennMWoods.