WVU Fire Service Extension—
For Mark Doty, fighting fire just runs in the family. His grandfather was a fire chief. His father has been serving for 46 years at Paden City Fire Department in Wetzel County, as well. However, Doty didn’t see the family business extending to West Virginia University Extension Service.
After becoming a Lieutenant at the same fire station as his father and grandfather, Doty decided to fuse his passion for hands-on instruction with the “family business.” He received his degree in technology education from Fairmont State University in 2006 and is currently pursuing his master’s in educational leadership while serving as the program coordinator for WVU Fire Service Extension.
Doty’s duties extend far beyond West Virginia. He works with unique programs, such as an aircraft rescue and firefighting training program, which is utilized across the east coast. Through the program, about 3,000 to 5,000 workers are trained each year.
WVU Fire Service Extension also works as a primary training agency for the National Guard and works hand-in-hand with the Center for National Response as a part of the interagency training committee established by the Department of Defense.
As a primary training agency, WVU Fire Service Extension goes crosses state borders with its mobile structural fire training unit—a 53-foot trailer that folds out into a two-story building. Doty has already visited Hawaii, Texas and Minnesota this year in order to provide training to emergency personnel, but he also recognizes the importance of the training locally in rural West Virginia.
“Sometimes in rural areas, those being trained are unable to travel or burn structures safely in order to learn hands-on,” Doty explained. “The mobile unit allows firefighters to experience fire behavior and how fire reacts before they are put in an actual emergency situation where lives are at stake.”
Although his job often requires more than 60 hours of dedication per week, as he simultaneously sits on committees and represents West Virginia as its delegate on the North American Fire Training Directors, Doty believes that the greatest thing about promoting his vision of improving safety and raising awareness about the importance of emergency services are the community and state that he serves.
“Growing up in the fire industry, I always heard a lot about the West Virginia State Fire Academy,” he said. “To be in the command structure of all of this and to see all the certificates in frames in my office that say ‘West Virginia University’ is thrilling. I’m thankful every day for that.”
For more information on WVU’s Fire Service Extension, visit http://fireservice.ext.wvu.edu/. To contact Mark Doty, call 304-269-0875.