A recent gift from the Missouri Propane Education and Research Council (MOPERC) will enhance University of Missouri Extension Fire and Rescue Training Institute's propane emergency training.
A longtime partner, the council's most recent donation is a customized trailer to hold the 500-gallon LP tank that the institute uses to train firefighters throughout Missouri.
"The council is a great partner in delivering propane emergency training," said Dave Hedrick, MU Extension fire and rescue training director. "Without their assistance, we wouldn't be able to cost-effectively deliver this program to fire departments and emergency responders in the state."
A dedication ceremony recognizing MOPERC's gift was held Oct. 17 at MU. Michael Ouart, MU vice provost for extension, thanked the council and presented a plaque to its chair, Ed Simmons of Eldon, Mo.
MOPERC and MU Extension have worked together since 2002 to provide training across the state. More than 2,300 emergency responders have completed Handling LP Gas Emergencies. In addition to the trailer, MOPERC provides the textbooks and propane gas for each training session, an average of 18 per year.
Steve Ahrens, director of the Missouri Propane Gas Association, said 13 percent of the Missouri's families heat with propane, making it one of the top states nationwide. As more people choose to live in rural areas, the number is growing.
That growth, Ahrens said, "comes at a time when there really isn't money for training. It's a challenge because rural fire departments have more and more volunteers, so it's important to be able to take the training out to these areas."
The 12-hour course provides classroom instruction and hands-on firefighting experience, said Larry Wilson, the program's coordinator.
"Now with two trailers, we can do two trainings in a weekend and get more firefighters trained," Wilson said.
For a video of the ceremonies click on the photo at upper right or click here