Some 200 firefighters and other emergency responders will participate in the 75th annual edition of the West Virginia State Fire School at West Virginia University Monday, July 17, through Sunday, July 23.

The participants, coming from12 states, represent 78 departments, including volunteer, career, industrial and military. Two firefighters who are providing fire protection in Iraq will attend this years school in Morgantown

The event, conducted by the WVU Fire Service Extension (WVU-FSE), provides the latest training to firefighters who serve as the first line of defense during fire and rescue emergencies, chemical spills and terrorist threats. WVU -FSEs first State Fire School was held in 1931 during the Great Depression.

The training sessions reflect the daily dangers facing firefighters and other emergency responders in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, world.

In addition, a speciallive burnclass will prepare fire instructors to teach fire suppression techniques to others. Fires will be set in five houses for participants to extinguish. This train-the-trainer class will be held on Saturday and Sunday, July 15 and 16, before the fire school begins.

The 2006 State Fire School training sessions include weeklong courses that meet National Fire Protection Association certification standards and shorter sessions that can lead to West Virginia and National Fire Academy certification.

Expert instructors from West Virginia and surrounding states will teach critical skills, including several levels of Delmar firefighter, fire instructor, fire officer, hazmat, rope rescue and arson detection. One workshop will concentrate on the annual Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, a critical funding source for fire departments nationwide.

Many instructors serve as officers and firefighters for fire departments in this region, including West Virginia departments in Brookhaven, Clarksburg, Fairmont, Kingwood, Lumberport, Morgantown, Paden City, Star City and Triune-Halleck. Out-of-state instructors come from Cumberland and Grantsville, Md.; Washington, D.C.; Loudoun County, Va.; and Bucks County, Pa.

A leader in providing critical, high-quality training to emergency responders, WVU -FSE works with federal, state and local organizations to meet national consensus standards. A new West Virginia State Fire Academy at WVU Jacksons Mill is expected to be completed by June 2007.

Fire Service Extension is coordinated by WVU Extension Service, which offers 4-H youth development, health education, agricultural development, community development and other educational initiatives in each of the states 55 counties.

For more information about the school, please visit the WVU -FSE Web siteor call Fire Service Extension at 1-866-WVU-FIRE.