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Practice makes perfect

Local fire departments refine skills with training opportunities

Steven Dixon from West Point Fire Department (left) and Josh Coil from East Liverpool Fire Department (right) hand off a window punch that was used to breach the back windshield of a Ford 500 sedan Saturday afternoon during hazardous materials’ training behind the Chester Fire Department. He was one of several Eastern Gateway Community College paramedic students to learn about reaching a crashed vehicle’s occupants, assessing their conditions and treating them accordingly. (Photo by Stephanie Ujhelyi)

East Liverpool – When area school districts and safety forces need a wrecked vehicle to make a point, Greg Six is the man.

Six, who has owned Six Recycling on the city’s east end for more than three decades, is no doubt on speed dial on many very important cell phones. Most recently, he had donated vehicles to both Liverpool Township and Chester fire departments for educational purposes. In the past, Oak Glen High School has been the site of a wrecked Six vehicle when it came time for a prom promise-type program.

“We give them basically to anyone (from school districts and agencies) who ask,” he explained, adding that this truly is a family business, as his children and brother also work there alongside him.

Liverpool Township Assistant Fire Chief Don Danver led his department’s recent extrication training amid a torrential downpour at Six. The township firefighters gather for three hours monthly to work on their skills and gain new ones. For the training on the donated Ford Focus, firefighters took turns manning the Jaws of Life and refining their lifesaving skills.

“We used a live firefighter as our vehicle occupant, and (participants) took turns talking to the patient, using the proper procedure. We took doors and roof off,” Danver continued, adding that many different apparatus are utilized. “We use a window punch for door windows but we have to use a saw on the windshield,” Danver said. “Part of the training was to teach the firefighters’ placement of the apparatus and stress paying attention to power lines. We have quite a few new firefighters, and I also am hoping to add training for electric vehicles as they are a whole new ball game,” the assistant fire chief added.

Like most volunteer departments, Danver said their department could use more firefighters especially at the LaCroft station. He urges interested parties to stop at 7 p.m. Tuesdays, where they usually gather for their training.

“We do air pack training once a month, and any kind of other classes that we can participate it. Our department has a great group that is aggressive and get the job done,” Danver said, adding that the department hopes to start up their breakfast again in October twice a month, like they had been before the pandemic.

Several days later, Chester fire Lt. Jason Lively led training using another Six vehicle. The goal was for Eastern Gateway Community College paramedic students, who hailed from East Liverpool, West Point, Toronto, Wintersville, Steubenville and Short Creek fire departments in Ohio and West Virginia to learn how to safely breach a crash vehicle to reach its occupants, assessing and treating their conditions.

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