La Plata VFD awarded nearly $17K in grant for new equipment
System will provide fire extinguisher training to community
An unveiling ceremony for the BullEx fire extinguisher training system simulator was held last Thursday with members of the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department demonstrating how its new system — purchased with a large grant — will provide state-of-the-art training to the community.
The department was awarded nearly $17,000 from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation to purchase the simulator.
“The La Plata Volunteer Fire Department is now complete with all the necessary equipment needed to provide the community with enhanced fire extinguisher training,” said Dennis Atlas, part owner and operator of Firehouse Subs on Crain Highway in Waldorf.
“We are extremely excited about the grant that we got because this BullEx fire extinguisher training system will help us to be more efficient and provide enhance service to our community and residents,” said Matthew E. Gilroy, president of the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department.
Gilroy said receiving this equipment will not only allow volunteer firefighters to conduct more training exercises, but also allow for less clean-up before and after each exercise.
“We expect to be able to train over 500 residents, church groups and senior clubs each year; and we hope to expand the program to high school students as part of their safety and science curriculum in the coming school year,” Emmett O’Hare, La Plata Fire Department fire prevention officer, said in a press release.
This particular fire extinguisher training system simulator allows training to take place entirely indoors, train unlimited number of students and allow each student multiple turns with the fire extinguisher to build muscle memory.
Another advantage of the BullEx is that it also stimulates class A, B and C fires at different difficulty levels, and the laser-driven extinguisher eliminates the need for time-consuming cleaning after a real extinguisher had been used.
The La Plata Volunteer Fire Department learned about the grant program through the support of Firehouse Subs in Waldorf, owned and operated by Darrin and Dennis Atlas. In 2005, the founders of the Firehouse Subs chain established the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation with the mission of providing funding, life-saving equipment and educational opportunities to first responders and public safety organizations.
“Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation has given more than $25 million to hometown heroes in 46 states, Puerto Rico and Canada, including more than $342,000 in Maryland,” Atlas said.
Funds are generated from a portion of every purchase made at a Firehouse Subs restaurant, with 0.13 percent of each purchase in 2017 going to the foundation — a minimum of $1 million, according to its website.
La Plata Volunteer Fire Department Fire Prevention Officer Emmett O’Hare speaks at the unveiling of the BullEx fire extinguisher training system simulator.
La Plata VFD Fire Prevention Officer Emmett O’Hare demonstrates how to utilize the BullEx fire extinguisher training system simulator.