Firefighters from Pike and surrounding counties will gather for the Pike County Fire and Rescue school to be held Sept. 10 through Sept. 12 at Pike Central High School.

“This will be the 31st year of the school,” said Randy Courtney, president of the Pike County Firefighters Association fire chief at Island Creek Volunteer Fire Department. “We didn’t get to have the school last year due to COVID restrictions.”

Courtney said there are 17 classes scheduled for the three-day school.

“We’ll have around 250 people attending this year’s school,” Courtney said. “Usually in the past we would average around 360 so we’re down a little but with the uptick of COVID it’s understandable.”

Courtney said while many of the classes are held outdoors, those that are held indoors in classrooms there will be strict COVID precautions being taken.

“As people come into the building they will be asked if they have any of the symptoms of COVID and they will have their temperature taken,” Courtney said. “Masks will be mandatory and social distancing will be observed indoors.”

Some of the classes will be held off site at other locations to help keep numbers down of people gathering in one place.

Basic rope techniques for example will be held at Pikeville Fire Station 3 and the Large animal rescue and UTV rescue will be held at Bob Amos Park.

“One class that filled quickly was the Opioid Response for First Responders,” Courtney said. “We actually had to add another class with another instructor to cover the demand.

“A beginning firefighter has to have the basic 20 hours to be able to respond to a fire scene,” Courtney explained. “During this fire school those folks could get 16 of those 20 hours. We’re looking forward to seeing some of our firefighter brothers and sisters from nearby counties that we didn’t get to see last year.”