Fire Department Educates Local Students

October 31, 2016 Events  No comments

From the Times-News/Frostburg Express last week.

Fire Department Educates Local Students

According to the National Fire Protection Administration (NFPA), Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire; the tragic 1871 conflagration that killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, destroyed more than 17,400 structures and burned more than 2,000 acres. The fire began on October 8, but continued into and did most of its damage on October 9, 1871.

On the 40th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (today known as the International Fire Marshals Association), decided that the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire should henceforth be observed not with festivities, but in a way that would keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention. The commemoration grew incrementally official over the years.

In 1920, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first National Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and since 1922, Fire Prevention Week has been observed on the Sunday through Saturday period in which October 9 falls.

The Frostburg Fire Department (FFD), a 100% volunteer organization, kept busy last week during fire prevention week and according to the department’s Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Hoffman, the FFD has been a leader on fire prevention for over a half century.

“In 1958, FFD fireman William Vogtman received the “Fire Prevention” award from the Allegany-Garrett County Firemen’s Association (AGCFA). William Preston followed suit with back-to-back AGCFA awards in 1965 and ’66 and the following year, firemen Jack Starkey received the same prestigious award for his efforts throughout the year.”

Chief Hoffman went on to say, “Those traditions continued in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s when FFD firemen Doug Hanson spearheaded FFD’s fire prevention efforts and received numerous awards and accolades including city, county, state and federal proclamations and numerous certificates of appreciation. Following in Hanson’s footsteps, former Deputy Fire Chief J. B. Hovatter held the title of Fire Prevention Chairman for nearly 15 years and continued to make fire prevention a high priority for the department.”

This year is no different and FFD Fire Prevention Co-Chairman, FFII/EMT Brian Long reported that again, the FFD experienced huge successes. Long said, “We visited multiple institutions and had several come to the firehouse including Kids Korner Daycare from both Beall Elementary and Mountain Ridge and Pre-K and Kindergarten classes from Beall Elementary, Frost Elementary and St. Michael.

More than 250 students with approximately 20 teachers benefited from this year’s fire prevention training. Attendees learned some basic valuable potential life-saving lessons:

• Toys vs. Tools – Tools such as matches and lighters have a purpose but can hurt you if not used properly. Tools should be used by adults and not touched by children.
• Crawl low under smoke – Smoke rises so the best air is close to the ground. Children were instructed to get down low and crawl towards a window so the firefighters can find them
• Know two ways out of every room – It is important to find two ways out of every room in the house, in case one exit is blocked or dangerous to use.
• Choose a meeting place outside the home – Children should know what to do when they hear a smoke alarm and there is no adult around. Help them practice going to the outside meeting place. Teach them to never go back inside a building that is on fire.
• Stop, Drop & Roll – If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop to the ground and roll to extinguish the flames. Running only causes the fire to grow!

Plastic fire helmets and goody bags filled with fire prevention flyers and coloring books, glow-in-the-dark wristbands, pencils, erasers and other items were handed out to all students.

Long said that approximately 12 different FFD members assisted with last week’s efforts. He went on to say, “The FFD does our best to make fire prevention a year round focus but this week, dealing with all of the kids really makes it pretty special.”

He stressed that parents should, on a regular basis not only continue reviewing with their children last week’s fire prevention training tips but practice the following:

• Have a plan for young children who cannot get outside by themselves. You will need to wake babies and very young children and help them get out. In your plan, discuss who will help each child get out safely.
• Keep children 3 feet away from anything that can get hot. Space heaters and stove-tops can cause terrible burns. Keep children at least 3 feet away from stoves, heaters or anything that gets hot.
• Keep smoking materials locked up in a high place. Never leave cigarette lighters or matches where children can reach them.
• Never play with lighters or matches when you are with your children. They may try to do the same things they see you do.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the FFD may contact them at


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