Fire safety training held for au pairs

February 03, 2008

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - On Jan. 19, area Cultural Care au pairs from the towns of Hagerstown and Greencastle met for a fire safety meeting hosted by Cultural Care Au Pair and Jack Kesselring of Emergency First Training.

According to Local Childcare Coordinator Brooke Kovalcik, educating au pairs on fire safety is a top priority for parents. "Au pairs are often the primary caregivers for many local families during the day. Fire safety training is important because it reinforces their knowledge of what to do if there is an emergency, starting with getting themselves and the children out of the house should a fire break out."

The training is part of Cultural Care Au Pair's ongoing Continuing Education Program. As a U.S. Department of State regulated program, au pairs receive safety and childcare education throughout their yearlong stay in the United States, beginning with a week of intensive courses at the Cultural Care Au Pair school in New York. The Washington and Franklin County au pairs together represent the countries of Bosnia, Columbia, Germany and Mexico.


Kovalcik, a Smithsburg resident, supports area parents and au pairs, advising them of educational opportunities, as well as organizing fun activities for the entire extended family to enjoy.

"I am always looking for ways to make safety training and education fun for our au pairs," said Kovalcik. According to Kovalcik, the training covered everything from how to properly use a fire extinguisher to safely and quickly getting out of a home in case of a fire, with discussion on the cultural differences on handling an emergency here in the United States as opposed to other parts of the world.

"When you invite an au pair into your home, programs like these assure that you leave your children in the most capable hands possible. It is comforting as a parent to know that your children are with a caregiver you can trust."

For more information on safety training in your home or business, contact Emergency First Training at 301-685-6225 or

For more information on inviting an au pair into your home, call Kovalcik at 301-416-0297 or visit her Web site at

Safety tips for families:/

· Change the batteries in your smoke detectors when the time changes on March 9 and Nov. 2

· Make sure you have a fire alarm on every floor of your home

· Plan fire escape routes for your family and identify a meeting place outside the home in case of an emergency

· Plug in carbon monoxide detectors near gas operated sources in your home such as fireplaces and furnaces

· Purchase a multipurpose fire extinguisher, labeled with A, B and C symbols for common household fires, and store them in plain site, safely out of the reach of children

· Inspect your fire extinguisher once a month for pressure levels and damage. Make sure the rubber and plastic parts are intact.

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