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Barciz promotes area fire prevention

September 02, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG -- In 2008, the title of Miss Washington County Fire Prevention was bestowed on Jennifer Barciz, ending a drought of at least 20 years the county had been without such a representative.

Barciz has further distinguished herself and the county she represents by winning first runner-up at the Maryland Firemen's Convention in Ocean City in June.

"I have been traveling a lot already in my capacity as first runner-up," Barciz said. "I have put in 3,500 miles since June."

Most recently she made an appearance at an open house at the Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co. in late August.

A member of Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services, Barciz said in published reports last year that she got interested in pursuing a title while attending a Maryland State Firemen's Association convention in Ocean City.

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When attending a Washington County Fire and Rescue Association meeting, Barciz made her intentions known. As the only "candidate," she was selected in 2008.

Now that she is serving as first runner-up in the state, Barciz said she has been appearing at banquets, carnivals and other activities.

As a young girl, Barciz toured the Burn House at Children's Village of Washington County. She said she remembers how the house still smelled like smoke years after the fire.

That experience and others have changed her career plans at the age of 22. She is now planning a career in firefighting, particularly in the field of fire prevention.

A native of Waynesboro, Pa., Barciz joined the U.S. Navy after high school graduation. For two years, she was assigned to aircraft carriers in Florida and Norfolk, Va., where she was trained in air traffic control.

During her Navy tour, Barciz managed to put in her 24 hours of duty a month in Smithsburg to stay active with the rescue company she joined more than six years ago.

Now Barciz is working at the Travel Center of America in Greencastle, Pa.

A contest to choose new fire prevention representatives is Friday, Oct. 9, with the start time for interviews at 5 p.m. at Western Enterprise Fire Co. on Washington Avenue in Hagerstown.

Categories include Little Fire Chief, ages 6 to 10; Little Miss Fire Prevention, ages 6 to 10; Junior Miss Fire Prevention, ages 11 to 15; and Miss Fire Prevention, ages 16 to 24.

Applications are due Sept. 30. Contact jbarciz@sems79.org or call 301-992-5758. Applicants need not belong to a fire company. There is no entry fee.

Some candidates will need to complete a poster on a fire prevention related topic of their choice. Others need to do a 5- to 10-minute presentation on a fire prevention related topic.

All winners will travel throughout Washington County promoting fire prevention.

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