From the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Progtram:
Fire departments from 14 Ohio counties participated in the Responding to Oilfield Emergencies training workshops hosted by the Ohio Oil and Gas Energy Education Program (OOGEEP) in April and May. The firefighters learned how to respond to potential drilling and production site emergenciesand other response resources over the two-day training workshop.
OOGEEP took the lead in the U.S. by creating and implementing the nation’s first Oilfield Emergency Response Training Program. Since 2000, more than 1,000 Ohio firefighters from around the state have participated in this training program, along with firefighters from seven other states.
“Ohio citizens should be honored that many other energy producing regions have looked to Ohio as a model to set up similar safety programs in their respective states,” said Rhonda Reda, executive director of OOGEEP.
The training course provides background information and practical guidelines to assist responders in communicating and evaluating a potential emergency site, and the ability to respond to both drilling and production emergencies. The hands-on training portion includes “live burns” utilizing both crude oil and natural gas props. The training program is funded 100% by Ohio’s natural gas and crude oil operators.
“Ohio has always been a leader in developing safety programs. While there have been very few natural gas and crude oil emergencies in Ohio, often times fire departments are also called to respond to non-emergency incidents simply because there is a lack of knowledge or unfamiliarity of equipment, standard practices and advanced technologies used by Ohio’s industry,”notes Charlie Dixon, lead fire instructor, and OOGEEP’s safety and workforce administrator. “The fact is not all incidents reported are emergencies, and we are hopeful that this program will also mitigate those types of reported incidents that could tie up community resources that may be needed elsewhere.”
Brent Gates, a New Concord, Ohio, Fire Chief, an Ohio Certified Fire Instructor and one of the instructors for the training adds, “This is by far one of the best training programs I have been involved in. The information and hands-on training we provide makes a difference to so many communities who areimpacted by the development of oil and gas.”
After attending the two day training Worthington Township volunteer firefighter Brent Miller said, “OOGEEP put on a quality program to advance the safety and the capabilities for firefighters in our local area with a great blend of industry knowledge and tactical firefighting to improve safety for firefighters and our local community.”
“Ohio’s oil and gas industry has always committed to safety andwe believe it is our responsibility to help educate
Ohio’s firefighters,” said Eric Smith, OOGEEP’s Board Chairman of OOGEEP and an Ohio oil and gas operator.“In Ohio, we’ve drilled over 275,000 wells, and advanced technology will continue to make these operations safer and environmentally sound, while helping Ohio produce more of our own energy needs.”
“It’s really a service we are providing to the emergency responders, but it also significantly benefits local communities,”explains Ron Grosjean, OOGEEP Board Member and Chairman of the Firefighter Training Committee. “We want the public to be confident that both the industry and emergency responders are well trained.”
The workshops are endorsed by the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association, the Ohio Society of Fire Service Instructors and the Ohio Fire and Emergency Services Foundation. Upon completion of thetraining, each firefighter can also receive up to 12 CEU contact credit hours and an optional college graduate credit through Hocking College.
The mission of OOGEEP is to facilitate educational, scholarship, safety and training programs; to promote public awareness about the industry; and to demonstrate to the general public the environmental, energy and economic benefits of Ohio’s independent natural gas and crude oil producers. OOGEEP is not funded with any taxpayer dollars.
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Participating Fire Departments by County:
Belmont County Barton Volunteer Fire Department
Cumberland Trail Fire Department
Carroll County Carroll County Volunteer Fire Department
Columbiana County East Palestine Fire Department
Coshocton County F.C.V. Volunteer Fire Department
Cuyahoga County Broadview Heights Fire Department
Holmes County Killbuck Township Fire & EMS
Mahoning County Coitsville Volunteer Fire Department
Springfield Township Volunteer Fire Department
Medina County Erhart/York Township Fire Department
Muskingum County Washington Township Fire Department
Portage County Brimfield Fire Department
Garrettsville Freedom Nelson Joint Fire District
RichlandCounty Worthington Township Fire Department
Stark County Lawrence Township Volunteer Fire Department
Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department
Trumbull County Braceville Township Fire Department
Champion Township Fire Department
Washington County Marietta Fire Department
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.