- Todd Reitzel
Beltsville VFD Holds Fire F.E.S.T. Open House
The Beltsville Volunteer Fire Department hosted its annual Fire F.E.S.T. open house on October 21. The event included equipment displays, food vendors, emergency medical demos, a moon bounce, and face painting. The Hands-Only CPR demo provided the information and skills needed to begin and continue lifesaving efforts on a cardiac arrest victim until emergency medical service personnel arrive. More information is at http://www.heart.org/handsonlycpr. The Stop The Bleed demo instructed attendees on how to identify and control massive bleeding that could cause death if left untreated. More information is at www.bleedingcontrol.org. The department also displayed its equipment, including its new ambulance, the first one owned by this department since the 1970s. Purchase of the ambulance was made possible by donations by Beltsville citizens. The department now has 3 fire engines, 1 ladder truck, 1 ambulance, and 3 other vehicles. The department runs operations using citizen donations and purchases fire trucks using a combination of State of Maryland grants and citizen donations. “Fire F.E.S.T. allows citizens to come in and see what our volunteers do,” said Margie Dickey, president of the Beltsville VFD. Fire F.E.S.T. was held at the department’s Station 31 location on Prince George’s Avenue. The department also runs Station 41, on Powder Mill Road in Calverton. The event was held in conjunction with Fire Prevention Month. The department also sponsored a poster contest; Participants included students at 5 area elementary schools, including Beltsville Academy, Beltsville Adventist School, Calverton Elementary School, St. Joseph’s Regional Catholic School, and Vansville Elementary School. Three winners from each grade of each school were selected and awarded trophies during the October 21 event. “The most important thing Beltsville residents can do to support fire safety is ensure you have a fire escape plan and ensure your children know that plan,” said Dickey. “We also recommend you give your children the opportunity to see firefighters in their bulky gear at events like this one. Often, small children are scared of firefighters responding to emergencies because of their bulky gear.” Hickey also recommends residents ensure they have working smoke detectors and, in case of fire, evacuate first and then call 911. More information about the department is at beltsvillevfd.com.