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Event emphasizes fire safety

October 26, 2003|by JULIE E. GREENE

julieg@herald-mail.com

CLEAR SPRING - Asked what he learned at Saturday's fire safety event hosted by the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Department, the 8-year-old boy at first said he didn't know.

Then, coaxed by family members, Jordan Willard demonstrated how he learned to stop, drop and roll if his clothes caught on fire.

Willard's mother, Cristina Albright of Martinsburg, W.Va., brought her sons to the event at the invitation of her boyfriend's co-worker, a Clear Spring firefighter.

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Earlier in the day a firefighter showed children his breathing mask, Albright's friend Jennifer Archbold said.

Throughout the day, about 20 firefighters from Clear Spring, Williamsport, Fairplay, Maugansville and Hagerstown trained using a trailer they burned just east of town.

Firefighters ran through scenarios such as a search and rescue and worked to put out a fire as 30 to 40 spectators watched from many yards away behind caution tape.

People also could learn about fire safety inside the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association's fire safety trailer.

Saturday's event was to educate people about what firefighters do and how to prevent fires.

More fire incidents seem to happen during the holidays and winter because people don't clean their chimneys or maintain furnaces, they leave unattended candles burning and they overload outlets, said Deputy Clear Spring Fire Chief Rick Rowe.

Rowe said people should check their smoke detectors to make sure they work.

"There should be no reason for people not to have one because the fire department is giving them away for free," Rowe said.

Local firefighters also show people the proper place to install smoke detectors, he said.

The other reason for the event was to educate people about what firefighters do, Rowe said. Sometimes people complain or ask questions such as why firefighters have to cut a hole in the roof at a house fire or why the department has a new expensive piece of equipment, he said.

Firefighters cut the roof open to ventilate a fire, Rowe said. He said the new equipment helps keep homeowners' fire insurance rates down.

While Rowe hoped to get those messages out to the public, it appeared that most of the afternoon spectators were family or friends of firefighters.

Rowe said he was disappointed more people didn't attend. Firefighters delivered event fliers to Clear Spring Elementary School for children to take home to their parents.

Many people have the attitude that they shouldn't worry about fire prevention because fire will never affect them, Rowe said.

The key to preventing fire is learning how, he said.

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