Archbold, OH

Fire Chief Describes New Training Requirement, Fairground Building

Andy Brodbeck, Archbold Fire Department chief, said the impact of new training requirements for firefighters on the volunteer fire service is not known.

Speaking to the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce at the Monday, April 21, noon luncheon, Brodbeck said in the past, once a person completed firefighter training in Ohio, he held the title for life. There were no continuing education requirements.

The byproduct of the policy is that no one knows how many certified firefighters there are in the state. How many have retired? How many have died? No one knows, he said.

Now, the state of Ohio will require firefighters to complete 36 hours of initial training. Then, firefighters will be required to complete 54 additional hours every three years.

“They don’t care if you take the 54 hours in one year. It works out to about 18 hours a year,” he said.

Emergency medical technicians take an initial 120-hour course, then are required to complete 40 hours training over a three-year period.

At Archbold, all firefighters are required to complete EMT training.

Each Monday night, the Archbold Fire Department offers training sessions for its members. One Monday night of each month, the department holds a general meeting.

He said the department’s 34 partially-paid volunteers give up Monday nights to keep current with requirements.

Archbold’s partially-paid volunteer status means firefighters are only paid for the hours they are in training, or answering a call.

If an AFD member misses one or two Monday nights, it could leave them short of their continuing education hours.

They might have to travel to other sites and give up additional time to complete their required training.

Brodbeck said it’s not known how the new requirements will impact many volunteer departments, he said.


Brodbeck said each year, enough people come to the Fulton County Fair to create a small city north of Wauseon.

Over those years, the departments of the Fulton County Firemen’s Association, which includes all Fulton County departments plus Morenci, Mich., have volunteered time to provide fire and emergency medical service protection to the fairgrounds.

At one time, the departments worked out of a tent. Later, a building was built near the midway.

But, the fairgrounds have grown around that building. As a result, it’s difficult to move fire trucks and ambulances in the midway crowds.

Crews man the building overnight, and there are no sleeping quarters, he said.

The association has been raising funds to construct a new building at the southwest corner of the fairgrounds.

Enough money has been raised to purchase a 50×72 steel building. The parts for the building have been delivered.

The total cost of the structure is $200,000 to $225,000.

So far, Brodbeck said the association has raised $90,000 in cash, plus another $30,000 in pledges.

“We’re making good progress,” he said.

The Fulton County Fair Foundation has pledged another $50,000 towards the project.

Association members have raised $5,000 through the sale of T-shirts and sweatshirts. Also, the association plans to hold a raffle for a pickup truck, which should net close to $50,000, he said.


Once complete, the building will be used for more than just the fair. County meetings and training sessions will be held in the new building.

It will have a small kitchen, radio room, bathroom and shower facilities, and treatment rooms that will double as dormitories for overnight stays.

The building will be capable of housing two fire trucks and two ambulances.

Brodbeck said camping at the fairgrounds has become more and more popular. But, he said, when a camper catches fire, it burns quickly.

The new building location puts fire trucks closer to the campers, he said.

Brodbeck told chamber members that last year, the annual AFD Feather Party raised about $10,000.

Money that was raised was used to purchase an additional thermal-imaging camera. The camera senses heat sources, and presents it as a picture. Firefighters use the cameras for a variety of purposes; one is to find fires burning inside walls.

The new camera cost $9,995, he said.

With the addition of the new camera, AFD now has thermal imagers on both sides of the Norfolk Southern railroad tracks.

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