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Seeing Hand in Wheeling Stresses the Importance of Fire Extinguishers

Seeing Hand Shop Foreman Brian Carpenter, right, presents Roanne and Robert Neidert with one of two fire extinguishers the agency is donating to the couple for their new North Wheeling home after losing their previous home to a fire in January.

WHEELING — As statistics have proven, the winter holiday season is the time of year for the highest incidents of home fires, so fire extinguishers should be accessible on every level of a home or business, according to National Fire Protection Association.

With that in mind, the fire extinguisher program the Seeing Hand agency in Wheeling offers what might be the perfect solution for a holiday gift to help keep someone’s home safe, according to the agency’s Executive Director Karen Haught.

The program that the North Wheeling agency began nearly two years ago involves the refilling and selling of refurbished fire extinguishers. Not only do they sell the common ABC type of extinguishers, they have the capabilities of doing pressure testing and recertifications of extinguishers after they expire.

The extinguishers they refurbish are commonly used in homes, businesses and on construction sites, according to Haught.

“Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher on each floor and it would be a great gift for someone that’s hard to buy for to help keep their home or business safe.” Haught explained. “They are very affordable.”

“It kind of works like a propane exchange. If you have a used extinguisher, they last about six years and then they need refurbished. We can take it in on trade and then give you one that we refurbished for a pretty low cost and the benefit is it provides another employment opportunity for blind and visually impaired,” Haught explained.

She said three of the agency’s clients work with the project on a regular basis.

Haught said Seeing Hand clients are always looking for ways to give back to the community. So when her long-time friend, Roanne Neidert, (who is a huge supporter of the agency’s garden project) and her husband, Robert, recently purchased a home in North Wheeling after they lost their previous home to a fire in January — she decided to reach out and donate two of the agency’s fire extinguishers to them as a house warming gift to make sure their new home is safe.

“So, when I saw that Roanne and Bob got a new house, I thought, ‘what a great house warming gift,'” Haught commented.

She explained that it that it was just a few years ago when the southern part of West Virginia experienced extreme flooding and the agency’s clients made 13 dozen mops to send to the residents of that region who were in need of cleaning supplies.

The fire extinguisher project was developed after an engineering capability review by the National Industries for the Blind. It was modeled after a similar project in Richmond, Va. Haught said they have collaborated with community organizations and businesses throughout the tri-state area to initiate sales. She said the additional workshop fits well with the agency and allows their workshop to grow.

It was in March 2018 when the Seeing Hand officially opened the fire extinguisher program after renovating part of the second floor workshop to better accommodate the program. Prior to the opening, the agency took all of the steps in getting the proper state certification and licensing requirements in place for the project, according to Haught.

In addition to the fire extinguisher program, Seeing Hand clients cane old chairs for customers and produce mops that can be purchased at the gift shop in the agency’s front lobby, located at 750 Main St. More information can be found on the agency’s website, seeinghandassociation.com, or by calling the office at 304-232-4810. Customers also can stop by the office to place an order.

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