New Pilot Program Helps Ohio Volunteer Firefighters Get Qualified

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70% of Ohio's fire departments are run solely with the help of volunteers.

"There's a massive movement for the recruitment and retention of volunteer and this is a great opportunity for us to off that training, the important beginning training - which is the 36-hour course- so we were very excited to set up these 2 weekends, which is a very intense 2 weekends for these people, but we're thrilled to have this opportunity to give them this training," says State Fire Marshal Larry Flowers.

This free pilot program trains volunteers in a mere 4 four days, meeting the 36-hour requirement in a fraction of the time it normally takes for volunteers to become qualified.

But less time doesn't mean less education.

"It's really a matter of safety and oftentimes survival. If they each know their job and do it well, the person serving beside them, fighting the fire beside them, if they know they're well trained it's about surviving that incident, our slogan here is "everyone goes home" and we take that very seriously, and it just provides a better level of protection for Ohio citizens," says Flowers.

The Beverly Volunteer Fire Department has 5 recruits in this inaugural class.

Fire chief Phil Lowe says they were understaffed before and this program will help them meet the needs of their community.

"You're there to help the whole community and it will make your life better as the days go on. People will appreciate it, look up to you. But it's not just that, you're there to help someone else. There are people down on their need and that's what you're there for," says Beverly VFD Recruit Kenny Miller.

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