La Plata VFD awarded nearly $17K in grant for new equip­ment

Sys­tem will pro­vide fire ex­tin­guisher train­ing to com­mu­nity

Maryland Independent - - News - By CERONE WHITE cwhite@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @Cerone_IndyNews

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.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY CERONE WHITE

La Plata VFD Fire Preven­tion Of­fi­cer Em­mett O’Hare demon­strates how to uti­lize the Bul­lEx fire ex­tin­guisher train­ing sys­tem sim­u­la­tor.

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