STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Oil and Gas Committee is teaming up with MarkWest Energy to offer special well site response training for area firefighters.
Toronto Emergency Medical Services Chief Operations Director Clark Crago, public safety representative to the committee, told members the two-day program, which is free, accommodates the special needs of volunteer firefighters who must juggle work, family and their volunteer duties.
"It's easier for people who need training and don't have time to leave home," he said. "The majority of the county (relies on) volunteer firefighters and EMS personnel."
The two-day course will be similar to oil well training offered in Apple Creek, "but it will be more focused on what we'll see in Harrison and Jefferson counties," he said, adding the program will "prepare them before there's an emergency."
A group of live pipeline fire team trainers from Washington, Pa., will do the training.
Richmond Volunteer Fire Department will host the training session, set for Sept 15-16. The morning session will meet from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the evening session from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Those interested in the opportunity should contact Crago at (740) 381-9045 or by e-mailing him at email@example.com.
In other matters, committee members discussed public perception that locals aren't landing jobs in the oil and gas industry.
Laura Meeks, president of Eastern Gateway Community College, said 70 percent of the individuals who've trained for entry-level jobs in the industry already have found work, while Mike McGlumphy of Jefferson County Connections pointed out potential applicants need to know the jobs they're applying for are rigorous, many requiring them to be on the well site for 12-14 hours a day for weeks at a time.
"It's not for everybody, and we need to point that out to them," he said.
Jefferson County Commissioner Dave Maple, the committee's moderator, said he's "had a lot of employers in the area not necessarily tied to oil and gas telling me how they're struggling to find people to work for them, and at the same time, I have people telling me they can't find jobs."
"There's a real disconnect there," he said.
Committee members also discussed how to ensure public safety is being protected, pointing to such things as silica disposal and even skid marks on the roads left by heavy trucks operated by drivers unaccustomed to the windy, hilly terrain in Jefferson County.