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Clear Spring firefighters open their doors to offer safety tips and fun

October 07, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE | julieg@herald-mail.com
  • Members of the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Company welcome visitors to their open house on Sunday.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

CLEAR SPRING — Recommending two escape routes from every part of a home and reminding people to have smoke detectors in their homes were among the fire safety tips firefighters were promoting Sunday at the Clear Spring Volunteer Fire Company's fall open house.

“Have 2 Ways Out” is the theme for this year’s Fire Prevention Week, which began Sunday.

In addition to the normal ways people have to exit a room, determining a backup escape route is recommended, Clear Spring Fire Chief Michael Reid said.

Reid said he was hoping for a lot of youngsters at the open house and by halfway through Sunday’s event, a number of children already were running and milling about the fire hall on Mulberry Street. Typically the open house draws about 100 people, but Reid was expecting more by the end of Sunday’s event.

Firetruck rides were added to the open house this time, an offering with which Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. has had success in attracting people, Reid said.

Several children said they took their first firetruck ride Sunday.

In addition to the firetruck rides, some people got to try out a fire extinguisher.

Lisa Martin, whose husband, Michael, is a fire company member, said using the fire extinguisher was not what she expected.

“It was a lot heavier than I thought it would be,” Martin said.

The fire extinguisher used for the demonstration was larger than the ones typically sold for homes.

The extinguisher also was harder to manage than she thought, Martin said.

For demonstration purposes, the extinguisher was loaded with water, firefighter Bill Burgan said.

Typically, multipurpose fire extinguishers contain a dry chemical, he said.

Burgan controlled the gas-powered fire, in a metal container, with a remote.

Burgan reminded participants, including Michele Briggs, to keep going after the initial blast of water on the fire.

After pulling the pin out of the fire extinguisher, people should aim the extinguisher at the base of the fire, squeeze, sweep the stream from side to side, and continue using the extinguisher until they are sure the fire is completely out, Burgan said.

Residents who have a fire extinguisher should check the gauge to make sure it is in the green, or charged mode, Reid said. An extinguisher labeled “ABC” is the best one to buy, since it is a multipurpose extinguisher and will work with electrical fires, flammable liquids and gas, and ordinary combustibles such as wood and paper, Reid said.

The fire company is in its third year of a State Farm Insurance grant it continues to use to buy smoke detectors to install in Clear Spring-area homes, Reid said. Residents who do not have a smoke detector can call the fire department to have a free, battery-operated smoke detector installed.

The fire company usually holds open houses in the spring and fall, but in 2013, it will move the spring open house to the night of National Night Out, which is the first Tuesday in August, Reid said.

Reid said he hopes to get local churches and the town involved in National Night Out in 2013.

Richard Smallwood Sr. was leaving the event with his grandsons, Richard “Trey” Smallwood III, 4, and Devan Delauney, 4.

Both boys wore yellow plastic firefighter hats, but were afraid to go on a firetruck ride, their grandfather said.

The pair had a good time though, and met Smokey Bear, aka Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore incognito.

Asked about Smokey, Trey said, “He lives down in Dargan. In a cave down in Dargan.”

Smallwood explained that a bear was spotted in Dargan, where Trey lives, about two months ago.

Funkstown open house set for Saturday

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Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. will host an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Westside Avenue fire hall.

Activities include firefighter challenges for children and adults, firetruck rides and children’s activities.

The event also will feature a Maryland State Fire Marshal bomb squad robot; Maryland State Police; a Community Rescue Service ambulance; Smokey Bear; Sparky the Fire Dog; demonstrations; and an Air Methods medical transport helicopter, which, depending on the weather and emergency calls, is expected to arrive at approximately 11 a.m., according to an event flier.

Free hot dogs and drinks will be available.

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