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Officials provide tips at Spring into Safety event

April 21, 2010|By DAVE McMILLION
  • Hagerstown K-9 Officer Tom Bartles lets Queen loose on a protected Officer Sean Flanagan during a demonstration at a safety event Wednesday in the Walmart parking lot.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer,

HAGERSTOWN -- Sixteen girls from Girls Inc. moved from station to station at the Spring into Safety event Wednesday afternoon, learning about bicycle safety, nutrition and fire safety.

Their fire safety lesson in the Walmart parking lot at Centre at Hagerstown came inside a "Safety House," a trailer set up like a house to teach children about fire dangers that can lurk in a home.

"Firefighter Rick is very, very scared of these things," Hagerstown Fire Department firefighter Rick Conrad told the girls as he turned their attention to a space heater in a living room area.

To help prevent fires started by space heaters, Conrad showed the girls how to take three steps back from flammable objects.

Allowing that much space between the heaters and the objects will reduce the risk of fire, Conrad said.

The Spring into Safety event from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. provided people with a one-stop resource for safety tips.

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Stations offered electronic fingerprinting for kids, injury prevention, free bicycle helmet giveaways and child safety seat inspections. An armored special response vehicle was parked on the lot, as well as police and fire department vehicles.

Among the issues that safety officials stressed to the public was proper installation of child safety seats in cars.

About 93 percent of people in the area who use child safety seats don't install themproperly, said Amanda Distefano of the Washington County Health Department.

Distefano was among a group of people inspecting car safety seats in vehicles to make sure they were installed properly.

Spring into Safety came as Hagerstown is vying for a national safety designation that officials hope will allow the area to obtain more national grants to expand public safety programs.

Two evaluators determining whether Hagerstown should be designated as a Safe Community under the National Safety Council toured the city Wednesday as part of the process, said Michael Weller, public education officer for the Hagerstown Fire Department. The two evaluators were at Wednesday's event at Walmart.

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