First Responders Fighting Back After Concerns of Protection

By: Rahel Solomon Email
By: Rahel Solomon Email

PUTNAM COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ)-- First responders from around the region met Sunday to learn self-defense moves.

The class comes less than a month after several firefighters were held hostage in a Georgia suburb. Firefighter and paramedic, Deron Wilkes said the dangers even hit close to home.

“I've had partners held at knife point, I've been assaulted on the job so it happens more often than people want to believe,” Wilkes said.

Sunday’s class at Hurricane High School was part of the weekend long Putnam County Fire School. It's the 30th year of the program but Sunday was the first time self-defense classes were incorporated.

“It used to be law enforcement had to deal with the combative ones, now fire and EMS, all of them are getting attacked now,” said Lt. Steve Lusher of the Hurricane Police Department.

Instructors from Hurricane Police and BCI Self Defense taught the moves that ranged from simple wrist locks to those more advanced but all are potentially painful.

Those who participated said the moves make physical size less of a factor in self-defense.

“They're all much bigger and heavier than me and I was very surprised my favorite take down move I was able to enforce both of them,” Lissi Franco, a volunteer firefighter from Poca.

“I think that what's really impressive is that size isn't what really matters,” Wilkes said. “It's the knowledge of being able to do what you want to do.”

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