On November 8, 2006, personnel from the Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department (Prince George’s County Fire Station #5) were presented with several awards for its Door-to-Door Fire Safety Campaign.
The recognition was presented at PGVFRA’s November meeting, hosted by Capitol Heights Volunteer Fire Department. Chief Lawrence H. Sedgwick presented a Unit Citation from the department, a Firehouse® Magazine Unit Citation for Community Service, and a proclamation from the Prince George’s County Council. The Honorable Darrell Miller, Mayor of the Town of Capitol Heights, also presented the department with a proclamation from the Town of Capitol Heights.
In 2004, the Capitol Heights fire station embarked on an unprecedented effort to get fire safety information out to the citizens of the Town of Capitol Heights and the surrounding communities in our first due response area. A plan was developed to go door-to-door to every business and residence in our first due response area by the end of 2005, handing out fire safety information and offering to check smoke alarms. This plan was proactive, rather than reactive. Batteries were replaced and new smoke detectors were installed where needed at no cost to the resident. If residents were not home, we left fire prevention and safety information materials in their doors.
During this project, a special fire prevention program was developed for the residents of 505 Suffolk Avenue, a senior citizen facility next to the fire station. It was presented on November 29, 2005 with nearly 45 residents present. The presentation was geared to their specific needs.
On December 31, 2005 the station achieved this goal by completing the last remaining residences on Larchmont Avenue.
In addition, to spreading the message about fire safety, the door-to-door campaign gave us an opportunity to interact with the citizens we serve, helped career and volunteer staff learn all first due areas and opened the door for recruitment opportunities.
This project has helped reinforce that fire prevention and safety are not something that we do every October as part of National Fire Prevention Week. Since the development of our project, other stations personnel in Prince George’s County have adopted the project and are now following our lead in proactively reaching out to the community before tragedy occurs. Our collective efforts demonstrate that prevention is a year round effort and is just as important as fire suppression and emergency medical services. This project has had a direct impact on County Executive Jack B. Johnson’s Livable Communities Initiatives by improving the quality of life of our citizens and helping to provide a fire safe community.
The following volunteer and career personnel participated in the project:
Frederick “Mike” Marks
James McClelland, Sr.
Robert E. McClelland, Sr.
Robert E. McClelland, Jr.