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Firefighters recognized for training hours

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Shelby tops in Orleans for fire, Ridgeway leads for EMS

Photos by Tom Rivers – Shelby Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jason Watts, left, and Francis Woodward, the second assistant chief for the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Company, hold the awards after Shelby was honored for the most fire training hours and Ridgeway for the most EMS training in 2012-13.

EAST SHELBY – John Miller II says knowledge is power, and often can make a life-saving difference.

The Shelby volunteer firefighter for each of the past two years has led Orleans County in fire and EMS training hours. He completed 279 hours in 2012-13, with 199 in EMS and 80 in fire. The previous year, Miller racked up 176 hours of training.

“It pays to train,” he said Friday night after the annual training recognition banquet for firefighters. “It makes sure we’re ready to do the job for the community.”

Miller worked as a truck driver before being hired last year as an EMT for Mercy EMS in Batavia.

“Every bit of knowledge you can gain gives you an upper hand in a critical moment when it’s needed,” Miller said at the recognition dinner at East Shelby Fire Hall.

Four other firefighters topped 200 hours in training: Glen Busch II of Ridgeway, 202; Daniel Gleason of Albion, 204; Nicolas Elliott of Barre, 217; and Jordan Willis of Kendall, 228. The 200-hour-plus firefighters are recognized on a plaque at the Emergency Management Office on County House Road in Albion.

Five Orleans County firefighters were recognized for topping 200 hours of training, including from left: John L. Miller II of Shelby, Dan Gleason of Albion and Nicolas Elliott of Barre. Glen Busch II of Ridgeway and Jordan Willis of Kendall also exceeded 200 hours.

The county also recognized the Shelby Volunteer Fire Company for amassing the most fire training hours with 1,081. Ridgeway led all fire departments with its 994 hours of EMS training. Those departments also will be highlighted on a plaque at the EMO and the County Legislature chambers.

Ridgeway had five firefighters complete the 190-hour EMT course, with two others taking the 72-hour refresher class.

“People want to take training to keep up with their skills,” said Francis Woodward, Ridgeway’s second assistant chief.

Altogether, firefighters in the county completed 4,528 hours of fire training and 4,101 hours of EMS. Firefighters can train to battle fires, do vehicle extrication drills, and provide EMS. But they faced many events last year beyond the norm, including wind storms and a sinkhole in Albion last July caused by a breach in the Erie Canal.

There isn’t a “tree-cutting” course offering or a “dam broke” course, said Paul Wagner, the county’s emergency management director. He praised firefighters for their response to those and other emergencies throughout the year.

“It’s because of your folks’ diversity to be handle these things that we’re able to get through them mostly unscathed,” Wagner said.