Tackling the Burning Issues

Both National Fire Prevention Week and Breast Cancer Awareness Month are being observed, and members of the Wheeling Fire Department spent time Tuesday educating the public and school children about fire safety and prevention, as well as raising funds to promote breast and cervical cancer awareness.

Lt. Dave Harmon, firefighter Nate Vapner and fire engineer Phil Shipley spent a few hours at Wheeling’s Centre Market handing out fire safety literature to the public while other department members were busy educating children with the department’s new fire safety house in the Warwood section of the city.

“We’re here promoting safety … and awareness,” said Harmon while standing near a table filled with packets, brochures and posters. The 2012 Fire Prevention Week theme is “Have Two Ways Out.”

Harmon said members were also out to help raise money and awareness for the West Virginia Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program by selling pink T-shirts during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is observed every October.

“This is our second year. Last year we sold a couple thousand shirts … and this year we’re doing it again,” he added.

Meanwhile in Warwood, firefighters visited Warwood Elementary and Corpus Christi schools with the Wheeling Fire Department Safety House. Assistant Fire Chief Ed Geisel Sr. said they are taking the safety house to nearly a half dozen public and parochial schools throughout Ohio County over a three-week period. He said the department typically visits half the schools in Ohio County in the fall and the other half in the spring.

Geisel said teaching students to “Have Two Ways Out,” which means every family should have an escape plan that provides two ways out of every room in the house in the event of a fire, they also talk to the children about a number of general fire safety and prevention tips.

Geisel pointed out that the department’s new safety house is designed to teach adults as well as children about general fire safety in and around the home. He said they will be visiting several venues around Wheeling this month allowing the public to visit the safety house with their children. He said firefighters will be at the Cabela’s store at The Highlands on Saturday and at Valley Harley-Davidson Inc. on East Bethlehem Boulevard on Oct. 20.

Corpus Christi Principal Dick Taylor said, “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students, especially the younger ones, to be able to come over and learn about fire safety and get accustomed to the different rules that the firemen want to stress to them so they are knowledgeable and know what to do if there would be an emergency. … It’s wonderful training. We teach all the safety we can in school, but an actual hands-on situation with the fire safety house – really, I think sticks with them more.”