BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – On Saturday, the inaugural County Roads Fire Conference came to the state of West Virginia with guest speakers from all across the United States.

Hosted by the Buckhannon Fire Department and the City of Buckhannon, the conference brought in over 70 firefighters from across West Virginia and the surrounding states.

Captain Joey Baxa with the Buckhannon Fire Department talked about how most of the training firefighters receive in the state of W.Va. is certification based, being able to get you on a firetruck, but Saturday’s event wasn’t that.

“This is a program where your learning from industry experts. You know people that have designed products, that have developed new ideas, that have researched and taken data and are now spreading it across the masses of the fire service to help us do our job more efficient. This is beyond the basic skill set, beyond the basic knowledge. These are things that can help take your service to your community to the next level,” said Cpt. Baxa.

Most firefighter conferences are too far across the country and cost to much for local state fire departments to go.

“It’s really convenient for this conference to be in our backyard in central West Virginia, that way fire departments don’t have to travel as far to get the training and the knowledge that they are gaining today,” said Matt Reed, Captain at Weston Volunteer Fire Department. “To be able to bring the caliber of these presenters to West Virginia greatly helps the fire service.”

Firefighter conferences allow firefighters to test new equipment available through various attending vendors and helps them decide on what gear best suits their department.

“These conferences and these vendors give us an opportunity to be able to get hands on and actually touch the product rather then looking at a catalog,” said Cpt. Reed.

The Buckhannon Fire Department hopes to expand on this event next year and bring a more hands on version to central W.Va.