The Department of Fire Services hosted the 17th annual Public Fire and Life Safety Education Conference on September 21-22, 2011.
Classroom teachers, nurses, firefighters, school resource officers and injury prevention experts gathered at the Westford Regency Inn and Conference Center for two days of training and skill development in 30 workshops and four general sessions presented by 41 speakers. There were basic offerings for newcomers to the field, new workshops to challenge experienced educators, and workshops to improve the ability to collaborate with other community partners and to expand program management skills.
Setting Sail for New Horizons
This year’s theme, Setting Sail for New Horizons, had two focuses. First, it incorporated the quest for new teaching tools and techniques. Secondly, it served as a reminder that there is always a new generation on the horizon who needs to learn fire and life safety.
Gina Russo, Survivor of the Station Night Club Fire, Keynote Speaker
Gina Russo, one of the survivors of the Station Night Club Fire, was the keynote speaker. Her address gave insight into the horror of fire, the lives it can take, and the time and effort it takes to live life as a burn survivor. She inspired fire educators to realize just how important their work really is. Russo explained in detail the ability that fire has to change lives in a matter of just a few minutes and just how important the work of fire and life educators is.
Dr. Angela Mickalide, SAFE Kids Worldwide, Spoke on Injury Prevention Partnerships
Dr. Angela Mickalide, director of research and programs for SAFE Kids Worldwide, presented a fascinating general session on injury prevention partnerships. Dr. Mickalide has published 80 articles, book chapters and research reports, as well as delivered numerous keynote presentations and print and broadcast media interviews. She is an expert in unintentional childhood risks, and in her general session gave insight on how experts in all the injury prevention fields can collaborate to create safer communities.
2011 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award
The 2011 Fire and Life Safety Educator of the Year Award was presented on September 22 to Lt. Annmarie Pickett. She received the award for her dedication to the Worcester Fire Department Public Education and Community Risk Reduction program. The other outstanding nominees were: Whately Firefighter Jason Dorval, West Brookfield Fire Chief Paul Lupacchino, Topsfield Captain Jenifer Collins-Brown, Springfield Firefighter Holly Clement, Rehoboth Firefighter Randy Larrivee, and Rutland Firefighter-Paramedic Brad Bemis.
About the Winner: Lieutenant Annmarie Pickett, Worcester Fire Department
Lt. Annmarie Pickett has demonstrated her zeal and dedication to her chosen profession and has exemplified her qualities in leadership and commitment.
She has worked in the Worcester Fire Department for over ten years. The success of the Worcester Fire Department Public Education and Community Risk Reduction program is tremendous and continues to grow.
Using fire data, Lt. Pickett identified a community risk location, developed a strategy to educate the at-risk population, and concluded with a follow-up evaluation of the results of her efforts to identify behavior change and to highlight any need for follow-up intervention.
Because of the leadership of Lt. Pickett, partnerships between the public schools, the fire department and the community have been built. She has brought public education into the Worcester Officer Program, in addition to making public fire education training a part of the required training of all new recruits in the Worcester Fire Department’s Recruit Firefighter Training Program.
She is the first female fire officer in the history of the Worcester Fire Department, and she is well respected by her peers and holds a position of trust and confidence.
About the Award
This award honors an individual or a team for their involvement and commitment to make our world safer from fire and other preventable injuries.
It seeks to recognize those who have exhibited excellence in educating their community members about fire and life safety, and have demonstrated outstanding leadership, teamwork, creativity and perseverance. Nominees may be of any profession.
About the Nominees
Firefighter Jason Dorval – Whately Fire Department
Firefighter Jason Dorval has been a member of the fire service and an emergency medical technician-paramedic for over ten years and served for three as a lieutenant with the Granby Fire Department. He is currently a member of the Whately Fire Department and a certified public fire and life safety educator. He is a dedicated and tireless fire safety educator. He has conducted fire safety programs for different grade levels and facilitated a partnership between schools and local fire departments currently in Whately and previously in Granby. Firefighter Dorval is child-centered and kindhearted educator, who inspires children to understand fire safety and share this valuable knowledge with others. He is a member of and instructor for the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition (ALEC) and provides instruction and invaluably guidance for first responders and fire educators. He is a member of the MA Public Fire & Life Safety Education Task Force, the MA Association of Safety and Fire Educators and the Western MA SAFE Educators Association.
Fire Chief Paul Lupacchino – West Brookfield Fire Department
Chief Lupacchino goes above and beyond to help students understand fire prevention and safety through the S.A.F.E. Program. He teaches students himself, and also teaches other young firefighters how to teach the program to students. Chief Lupacchino has a very busy schedule, yet he never misses a class. He places the responsibility and leadership of promoting fire safety onto the students, who in turn take this very seriously and share what they have learned with others. Partnerships between schools, students, families, and fire departments have been built, and this is due to the fact that Chief Lupacchino and his assistants show leadership and commitment to teaching fire prevention and safety to children.
Captain Jenifer Collins-Brown – Topsfield Fire Department
Captain Jenifer Collins-Brown has taken fire and life safety to a level beyond normal expectations. Whether it is in a classroom presentation at an elementary school or the Fire Department Explorer Post or the Council for the Aging, she epitomizes this lifestyle by integrating fire and life safety education into each person she comes into contact with. Captain Collins-Brown has a prevention program within the schools that has shown success with two recent “Young Heroes” — two 12-year old babysitters who took appropriate action when they smelled smoke. Her safety lifestyle not only includes fire safety within the classroom, but it also includes bicycle safety programs and fire and safety instruction to the elderly in a very concrete way. With the elderly, she goes out of her way to do routine safety lectures and also home visits, which include smoke and carbon dioxide detector testing and suggestions on falls prevention. Captain Collins-Brown mentors all thirty members of the Topsfield Fire Department on a day-to-day basis and has persuaded all of them assist in her educational programs. Through her leadership, area fire departments staff a booth at the Topsfield Fair each year providing fire safety education to thousands of fair-goers. She is proactive, preventive and compassionate.
Firefighter Holly Clements – Springfield Fire Department
Firefighter Holly Clements is a special person with special talents, including her teaching skills. She works in a large city with children and youth who have set fires and has built a successful intervention program that is the anchor for the county. She is quiet, but works diligently and aggressively to keep her city safe building partnerships with the courts, police, schools and mental health professionals. She has mentored other firefighters in Springfield and in neighboring towns, teaching them how to provide effective educational intervention to children who set fires. When a city or town does not have enough resources, she jumps right in and answers all cries for help with a smile. She is dedicated, passionate, skilled, big-hearted, and strong.
Firefighter Randy Larrivee – Rehoboth Fire Department
The dedication and commitment that Firefighter Randy Larrivee has demonstrated to children and the community has been outstanding. He has initiated a number of safety programs, including using the fire safety house, fire prevention, and ice safety. Most notable is his ability to spark students’ interest and creative spirit. The success of his programming and dedication is evident in the interest and desire of his students to share their ideas and experiences regarding fire safety. They look forward to his visits and programs with a renewed sense of helping each other and the community. He willingly gives countless hours of his own time to spread fire safety to children whether it is having lunch with them, reading, or presenting in the classroom. With limited resources, he has maximized his time and availability to ensure that students are provided with the best fire and life safety program possible. Both adults and students appreciate his spirit of generosity.
Firefighter-Paramedic Brad Bemis – Rutland Fire Department
Firefighter-Paramedic Brad Bemis has gone above and beyond working with fire protection plans and educational seminars. Not only has his senior fire prevention been a very large hit, but also his work with children has also truly been successful. Firefighter Bemis works with the members of the Rutland Council on Aging, and he uses current and real life situations to explain his fire safety and prevention messages. He brings in props, hands-on activities, and truly shows people his love for teaching fire safety. His work in a blood pressure clinic has also shown his commitment and dedication to fire safety. FF Bemis has been an energetic mentor and involved other members of the department in prevention programs.