Currently viewing the tag: "Vigilant Hose Company (VHC)"

On May 7, 2019, at the Vigilant Hose Company’s Fire Hall on West Main Street in Emmitsburg, a brand new fire engine, Engine 61, was dedicated to all past VHC chiefs and to the community they serve.

The date was selected because it was May 7, 1989 (exactly 30 years before), that the unit this engine replaces, old Engine 63, was placed into service. While old Engine 63 had proven itself many times over, both age and active use had taken their toll.

Members of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) participated in the ceremonial welcome presented by current VHC Chief Chad Umbel inside the firehouse. Then, attendees gathered in front of the fire house to witness several past chiefs spray down the fire truck. Next, VHC and community members picked up a towel to help to dry the engine before using “all of the member’s might” to push the fire truck “into service,” which was represented by pushing the fire truck into the engine bay.

New Engine 61 had been developed from more than 6-months of detailed design, construction, testing, and acceptance testing in Appleton, Wisconsin. Engine 61 has a range of critically important safety and operational capabilities necessary to serve the diversity and complexity of the VHC’s response area.

The new engine has a Pierce ‘Enforcer’ style cab (for 6 seat-belted personnel), a stainless-steel body, a 1,000-gallon water tank, a 1,500 gallon per minute pump, can supply both Class A Foam (for difficult to extinguish fires involving ordinary combustibles including deep-seated brush fires) and Class B Foam (for flammable liquid firefighting). Class A Foam is applied via the unit’s built-in ‘Compressed Air Foam System’ (or CAFS) which has proven to be very beneficial on VHC’s other front-line pumper, Engine-Tanker 64 (a year 2000 model unit).

Only about 1 percent of VHC’s 100-square mile response district has water mains and fire hydrants. Many buildings both in town and in the outlying areas are well over a century old – in fact, some are double that age. Multi-story structures, the range of weather conditions and the mix of residential, commercial, agriculture and institutional occupancies here combined with roadway and farm emergencies require modern equipment be on hand and at the ready 24/7, 365.

The fully-outfitted unit cost the VHC nearly three-quarters of a million dollars. Credit goes to VHC’s hard-working volunteers working tirelessly to make this dream a reality plus at massive cost savings to area taxpayers, too.

VHC’s former fire chiefs hold the water hose to spray down the new Engine 61.

Community and fire company members help to towel dry Engine 61.

Members use “all of their might” to push the fire truck “into service” in the engine bay.

Emmitsburg’s volunteer fire department, Vigilant Hose Company (VHC), seeks to remind everyone of the importance of the Frederick County Government’s “Ambulance Transport Insurance Billing” (ATIB, often called ‘EMS Billing’) to all Frederick County Residents who are transported by a Frederick County unit. The program helps citizens of Frederick County by assisting with out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary ambulance transports, including emergency medical responses.

The County’s Division of Fire and Rescue Services mailed out information with subscription club forms to all Frederick County Residents approximately six weeks ago. To enroll, simply fill out the membership enrollment form located in the pamphlets and list all persons living in the house who will be enrolled in the program. The ATIB is a countywide program that provides reimbursement for services rendered for ambulance transport services. In most cases, insurance carriers, government programs, auto insurances, etc., will generally reimburse a portion for ambulance charges.

If you are a Frederick County resident, here’s what you need to know:

•  Frederick County’s Division of Fire and Rescue Services began billing patient’s medical insurance for ambulance transport services in January 2013, in an effort to offset the rising cost of providing emergency medical services (EMS).  Reimbursement of these funds assists with operational expenses incurred in providing an effective combination volunteer and career EMS system, while also offering some relief to the taxpayers of the County, too.

•  Frederick County does not charge those enrolled in the ATIB program and accepts insurance payments to cover expenses with no further expectation on the part of citizens.

Providing the highest quality of professional patient care and treatment continues to be our collective number one priority. If not enrolled in the ATIB program, the charges for ambulance transport services are:

•  Non-Emergency Basic Life Support transports: $320.00

•  Emergency Basic Life Support transports: $420.00

•  Advanced Life Support, Level 1 transports: $600.00

•  Advanced Life Support, Level 2 transports: $700.00

•  Additionally, ground mileage of $10.00 per mile is charged, from                 incident pick-up site to the closest medical facility.

Those enrolled in the ATIB program are not charged any of the above fees. For more information, either go to the website at; stop by the VHC Fire / EMS Station at 25 West Main Street, near Town Square in Emmitsburg; or, should you wish to call by telephone, contact 301-600-1644 directly for helpful and friendly insights.

On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, family members, along with First Responders of Emmitsburg’s local volunteer fire department, the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC), as well as area citizens and civic leaders from across the region, gathered to say farewell to past VHC fire chief Tom White (pictured right), who passed away on Friday, August 3, 2018, at the age of seventy-six. During viewings the previous day at the Myers-Durboraw Funeral Home in Emmitsburg, the large attendance was testament to an individual who had placed great importance on community service during his entire lifetime. Having previously held all leadership ranks within VHC over the years, Tom became Vigilant Hose Company’s chief in 1984—the department’s 100th anniversary year.

Chief White was carried to his final resting place aboard VHC’s Engine 63 (a 1989 Pierce custom pumper), which he had helped design and purchase during his years as chief of department. Upon leaving the church, his funeral procession passed along Emmitsburg’s West Main Street and VHC’s stationhouse, where members had assembled to render their final salute while positioned in front of emergency vehicles draped in memorial black bunting.

From the Town Square, the procession continued down South Seton Avenue, pausing briefly while passing the Frederick County Fire/Rescue Museum, owing to Chief White’s past service as president of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association.  The antique rigs there were also adorned with black bunting, including VHC’s Old Engine 63 (a 1945 Ford pumper). At the cemetery in Thurmont, VHC’s Tower 6 proudly displayed a large American Flag, which waved gently during the graveside service.

Tom was a maintenance specialist with State Farm Insurance Company in Frederick for twenty-three years. He was previously employed by Myers Radio and TV in Emmitsburg. He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Emmitsburg, and was a proud Veteran of the Army National Guard. A lifetime member of VHC, he loved spending time at the firehouse, where he could be found brewing the first pot of coffee every morning for the “Coffee Club” and sharing the day’s news and stories of what was happening around town with fellow members. About Tom, VHC’s president and long-time friend, Frank Davis, shared, “He was a firefighter’s fire chief. He would teach and give others the opportunity to learn and lead.” He added, “He was the first fire chief that didn’t work in Emmitsburg (State Farm Insurance in Frederick) and that allowed others to step up and learn the job.”

A lifetime member of VHC, Tom was inducted into the VHC Hall of Fame in 1998 for his distinguished and extraordinary service to the company and the community. He was also past president of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.

Tom White in the 2009 Town Parade — VHC’s 125th Anniversary Year.

Hub and Tom in uniform at the fire station’s podium in the 1980s.


On Sunday, June 24, 2018, the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) proudly placed into service its new “Ambulance 69” (A-69) with Amber Zimmerman and Chad Zimmerman running the call. A-69 replaces a unit that was over eleven years old. VHC Chief Umbel stated, “At a cost of over a quarter million dollars, the vision to begin setting aside funds for the new ambulance goes to the former officers and members of the former Ambulance Company who started the process of saving for a new ambulance several years ago.”

During this past year, the joint merger of the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company into the Vigilant Hose Company took place. Months of planning and coordination between the organizations and partner agencies allowed for the full process to be effective at 12:01 a.m. on January 1, 2018.

Following its arrival here, it took just over six weeks to get A-69 fully outfitted with all its life saving equipment, including radios and a range of items needed to obtain a ‘Seal of Excellence’ designation from the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) and, very importantly, training response personnel to be familiar with the various technologies utilized onboard the unit.

Chief Umbel added, “Mounted on a Ford F-550 Chassis, the new ‘Type 1’ ambulance was manufactured by Road Rescue of Winter Park/Orlando, Florida, whose local dealer Atlantic Emergency Solutions of Manassas, Virginia, was very responsive to our particular community’s needs.” The cost of new A-69 exceeded over a quarter million dollars. One key feature is the Stryker Brand ‘Power-LOAD’ powered cot loading and fastener system improves patient and First Responder safety by supporting the cot throughout the loading, unloading, and transportation processes.

During the recent May 23rd ‘EMS Open House” event, held in recognition of National Emergency Medical Services Week, the new unit drew great interest from visitors, just as it has since its arrival. On behalf of the Town of Emmitsburg, Mayor Don Briggs presented VHC with a $6,000 check to help offset costs of EMS delivery locally.

A permanent plaque will soon be affixed to the unit, dedicating A-69 to all members of the former Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company who worked so hard to raise funds that allowed for the purchase and outfitting of equipment being carried. Those who have yet to see the new A-69 will get the opportunity to do so during Emmitsburg Community Heritage Day on Saturday, June 30, which begins with Breakfast at the Fire Station on West Main Street.

Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs (standing, center) presents a $6,000 check to VHC President Frank Davis; looking on is ‘Sparkey,’ Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, and VHC Auxiliary President Tina Ryder; kneeling are members of VHC’s EMS Committee, Jim Click, Chad Zimmerman, Amber Zimmerman, Alyssa Cool, and Dave Stonesifer.

by Deb Abraham Spalding

At a combined meeting of all available Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) and Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) members at Vigilant Hose Company’s Station 6 on Tuesday evening, December 12, 2017, the signing of merger documentation, in which the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company became a part of the Vigilant Hose Company, took place. This followed the signing of merger documentation by EVAC leadership members that authorized the transfer of all assets and liabilities to the VHC. The VHC was represented by the Law Offices of Michael H. Delauter, while EVAC was represented by Ian Bartman of Offutt & Kurman.

Following a presentation by the VHC Attorney Michael Delauter, EVAC and VHC membership, together and unanimously, approved the action, thus exceeding the required two-thirds membership vote.

The merger documents stipulated that the legal transfer would take place at 12:00 a.m. on January 1, 2018. At the stroke of midnight, during EVAC’s New Year’s Eve Bingo at the Activities Building on Creamery Road in Emmitsburg, the crowd of approximately 350 people had more to celebrate than just the new year 2018. As they burst into cheer at midnight, it was to celebrate the new year and the merger. Earlier that night, in a different part of the same facility, a party was held during the final hours of VHC’s Six of Hearts fundraiser. Tickets were drawn every ten minutes until a winner was finally pulled at 10:00 p.m. The name Barbara Berg was drawn and the card behind number 45 revealed the 6 of Hearts. Barbara became the lucky winner of the $54,000 cumulative jackpot.

The New Year’s Eve Bingo and the Six of Hearts fundraisers are perfect examples of the new stronger volunteer force working together for one unified organization. “It’s a win-win situation,” shared Mary Lou Little, former president of EVAC, “I can’t emphasize how well it’s working. It’s the greatest thing ever! It made Emmitsburg stronger than it’s ever been. We’re all so proud.”

VHC president Frank Davis expressed a similar sentiment, “The biggest thing is that it was the right thing to do for both organizations, overall, and it was the right thing to do for the community. The merger strengthened the community in emergency responses. It’s taken two groups of talented individuals and put together one of the best emergency services organizations in the state.”

As with all volunteer organizations, the need for funds to drive the mission is vital. In addition to a new Six of Hearts fundraiser that is ongoing until a winner is drawn in 2018, the VHC hosts bingo every Wednesday afternoon in the Activities Building, with games starting at 1:00 p.m., as well as every Friday evening, with games starting at 6:50 p.m. Food is available to participants and the general public for eat-in or take-out during these games.

The VHC’s annual Spring Fling event will be held at a new location this May: at the Company’s Activity Building, located on Creamery Road in Emmitsburg.

Spring Fling will be held May 19, 2018, with winners drawn from noon-5:00 p.m. See their advertisement on page 14 for more details and ticket information.

Pictured from left are: (standing) Vicki Long, EVAC secretary and Mary Lou Little, EVAC president; (seated) Tom Vaughn, VHC assistant secretary; Steve Valentine, VHC secretary; Frank Davis, VHC president; Mike Delauter, VHC Company attorney; and Steve Hollinger, VHC treasurer.

Deb Abraham Spalding

Photos by Deb Abraham Spalding

The 134th anniversary banquet of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) was held in the Vigilant Hose Company Activities Building on January 6, 2018. A new board of directors included members from both the former Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) and the VHC. As of January 1, 2018, the two entities merged, to create a new stronger, unified VHC.

Timothy M. Clarke, a member of the board of directors and former VHC president served as master of ceremonies for the banquet.

Guest speakers included Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, Frederick County Councilman Kirby Delauter, and Emmitsburg Mayor Don Briggs.

Gardner expressed, “About the merger, you’ve really got it right, and you’re really focused on serving people. You should all be proud of what you’ve accomplished.” She talked about a volunteer corporation consolidation incentive program that has been created to provide a temporary increase in funding from Frederick County Government to support the merger. She indicated that this merger should be a model for communities. She thanked VHC for being the first to go through a new volunteer accreditation process.

Kirby Delauter said, “Northern Frederick County and Vigilant led the way; they’ve always led the way. That’s nothing new,” adding, “It’s a lot of work. Northern Frederick County is the best kept secret in Frederick County.”

Mayor Briggs thanked all the “volunteer professionals” in the room. “These words don’t usually go together, but they do in this town… It’s a terrific town and it’s a real honor to be your mayor.”

The installation of officers was led by the Acting Director of Frederick County Volunteer Fire Services Kevin Fox, and the 2018 officers were introduced. 2018 Administrative Officers: President A. Frank Davis; Vice President David Stonesifer; Secretary Steven W. Valentine; Assistant Secretary Thomas Ward; Treasurer Steven M. Hollinger; Assistant Treasurer William D. Boyd, Jr.; Chaplain Fr. Charles Krieg; Board of Directors, Pam Bolin, Timothy M. Clarke, Elyssa Cool, Pam Ellison, Mary Lou Little, Randy Myers, Douglas D. Orner, Carl A. White, and David Zentz.

Operational Officers: Chief Chad M. Umbel; Deputy Chief James E. Click; Assistant Chief Joshua Brotherton; Captain Alex McKenna; Lieutenant Derek Rosensteel; Lieutenant Douglas Yingling; Lieutenant Marc Piermatteo; EMS Captain Amber Zimmerman; EMS Lieutenant Chad Zimmerman.

Fire Police: Captain Tom Vaughn; 1st Lieutenant Stephen Orndorff; 2nd Lieutenant Samuel Cool.

Auxiliary Officers: President Tina Ryder; Vice President Sharel Boyle; Treasurer Jo Ann Boyd; Secretary Joyce Glass; Financial Secretary Mandy Ryder; Co-Historians, Jennifer Boyd and Katie Davis.

Father Charles Krieg led a memorial service for Timothy “Chop” Andrew (October 21,1958 to August 29, 2017). Ed Little was awarded a shield to recognize his contribution, support, and diligence toward the merger of the EVAC with the VHC.

VHC President Frank Davis reminded the audience that the Company would never be nearly as successful without its Auxiliary. Auxiliary President Tina Ryder presented the VHC with a check for $40,000, representing the Auxiliary’s fundraising support from efforts in 2017.

Chief Chad Umbel recognized career staff by presenting them with apparel and certificates.

Tim Clarke presented Length of Service Awards: Tyler Arrowood, Bradley Hargadon, and Tim McKenna (5 years); Ron Face, Jason Powell, and Shane Wivell (15 years); Chris “Boog” Stahley (25 years and Life Membership awarded); Dale “Bubba” Glass (35 years); Frank Davis and Cliff Shriner (40 years); Carl Angleberger and Doug Orner (45 years); Jim Kittinger (50 years); Bob Hardman, Clarence Orndorff, and Bob Rosensteel, Sr. (55 years); and Leo Mike Boyle (65 years).

Top LOSAP: Derek Rosensteel (298 points), Chris McKenna (320), Patrick O’Hanlan (390), Josh Brotherton (523), Dave Zentz, Jr. (607), Jim Click (646), Top LOSAP earner—Cliff Shriner (1,320 points).

Top responders 2017: Hugh Boyle (114 calls), Randy Myers (119), Chris McKenna and Derek Rosensteel (123), Tom Ward (133), Matt Legare and Brandon Burriss (137), Dave Zentz (180), Frank Davis (230), and Top Responder—Cliff Shriner (307). The call total for 2017 was 513.

Top Fire Police Responders: Tom Vaughn (24 calls), Sam Cool (88), Top Fire Police Responder—Steve Orndorff (103).

The VHC Training Award was presented to Dave Zentz. A special award was presented to Tom Vaughn.

Chief Umbel gave a special presentation to Chris “Boog” Stahley in recognition of his service. Tim Clarke presented the Silver Spring Award for Fire Prevention to Alyssa Cool on behalf of the Maryland State Fireman’s Convention.

The President’s Award was presented to Doug Orner, the Chief’s Award was presented to Cliff Shriner, and the Member of the Year award was presented to Dave Zentz.

The following two members were inducted into the VHC Hall of Fame: Daniel J. Kaas (deceased) and Robert A. “Rosie” Rosensteel, Jr.

In closing, Tim Clarke surmised, “It goes without saying that the merger was the most important event of 2017. We did what was best for the community. One special person deserves a ton of credit for beginning the conversation about doing what was right for her organization and most importantly for the Emmitsburg Community: Mary Lou Little.”

VHC achieved a lot in 2017 by hosting successful fundraisers, ordering a new ambulance, and continuing to train new techniques. Tim reminded the audience, “You, the membership, should be extremely proud of your accomplishments year after year, and the high regard in which our little hometown volunteer fire company is held in the eyes of the fire service professionals from all over the world.”

2018 VHC Officers (left to right top row) Pam Bolin, Pam Ellison, Douglas Orner, Timothy Clarke, Mary Lou Little, Carl White, Elyssa Cool, Randy Myers and David Zentz. (Seated) Frank Davis, David Stonesifer, Steven Valentine, Thomas Ward, Steven Hollinger, William Boyd, and Fr. Charles Krieg.

Top Responders are shown (left to right) Hugh Boyle, Randy Myers, Derek Rosensteel, Tom Ward, Matt Legare, Brandon Burriss, Dave Zentz, and Cliff Shriner.

Auxiliary Officers are (left to right) Mandy Ryder, Joyce Glass, JoAnn Boyd, Sharel Boyle, and Tina Ryder. (Standing) Jen Boyd and Katie Davis.

Upon being inducted into the VHC’s Hall of Fame, Robert Rosensteel, Jr. (left) is shown with his father, Robert Rosensteel, Sr.

Member Tom Ward

The Vigilant Hose Company (VHC), in partnership with the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC), is excited to be progressing with the merger of the two emergency service organizations. Recently, with the support of EVAC, the VHC signed a contract to purchase a 2018 F-550 Road Rescue Ultramedic Ambulance.

This unit to be designated as Ambulance 69 (A69) will feature several state of the art items: 2018 Ford F-550 4×4 chassis; Liquid Spring suspension; Big Tex grille guard; 170” Road Rescue Ultramedic module; 74” headroom; 100% wood-free construction, all-aluminum interior; Road Rescue CoolBar HVAC; Road Rescue Whisper Quiet insulation package; Provider friendly relocated interior door handles; Module door forward design; Full customized exterior and interior layouts for customer specific needs; Weldon VMux electrical system; Interior and exterior camera monitoring; LED warning and ground lighting in the lower crash rail; Whelen LED M-series warning lights; LED Chevron lighting; LED blue floor lighting; Zico O2 lift; Vanner 1050 inverter; Stryker Power Load system.

The men and women of the VHC are excited to see the progress of A69’s build and for a spring 2018 delivery.


Members of both the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company (EVAC) and the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) have begun to discuss how their respective emergency services roles might be improved by merging personnel, resources and facilities.

This initiative is early in its consideration and will require research, on-going discussions and coordination among all stakeholders including the public, area businesses and institutions as well as local and county public policy officials and regional emergency services agencies.

EVAC President Mary Lou Little and VHC President Frank Davis jointly stress that this is an open and positive step that both organizations have long discussed. The community and surrounding area are the driving force to continue to work to improve and enhance service.

Senior administrative and operational leaders of both groups have recently been discussing possible ways to potentially combine personnel and resources to better meet growing service demands while also developing strategies ultimately determined to be in the best interests of those served.

Members of both organizations met together on Sunday evening, May 21, 2017, at the EVAC Station 26 to begin a process for positive outcomes. And, such interactions will continue. Community input is encouraged and will be used in designing a comprehensive approach and structure to move forward. Frequent updates will be issued so all interested can be kept apprised of developments.

Questions can be made through contact with Spokesperson Tim Clarke at 301-748-4161 or at

The general public, as well as area business and community leaders, are invited to see, firsthand, the effectiveness of fire sprinkler protection in homes, places of work, play, and worship. A specially designed live-burn prop will be showcased in the parking lot of the Frederick County Fire-Recue Museum / National Fire Heritage Center at 300B South Seton Avenue in Emmitsburg on Saturday, April 8, 2017, beginning at 1:15 p.m. There will be a “side-by-side” live-burn demonstration of two identical/typical residential dwelling living rooms—one with fire sprinkler protection and one not (see photo above).

Experts in fire sprinkler design, installation, and maintenance will be available to answer questions, while First Responders from the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) and Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company will be participating in support of the demonstration, coordinated with the governments of the Town of Emmitsburg and Frederick County.

The demonstration is made possible by the National Fire Sprinkler Association and its Regional Chapter, the Capital Region Fire Sprinkler Association. Fire/Life Safety information, courtesy of the VHC, will also be available.

Parking in the rear of the Emmitsburg Community Center is recommended.  Following the demo, tours of the Museum and Heritage Center will be available, as will be light refreshments. Questions may be directed to Wayne Powell at 240-344-7390 or

The men and women of the Emmitsburg community’s fire and rescue department proudly announce their annual Fire and Life Safety Open House on Thursday, October 13, 2016, from 6:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m., at the Fire Station, located at 25 West Main Street in Emmitsburg. The public is invited. This will be the sixty-first year that Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) personnel have sponsored this always popular event.

Fire and injury prevention in Emmitsburg is a year-round effort, done in concert with area residents, businesses, institutions, and agencies, but during Fire Prevention Month, department personnel seek to especially underscore the importance of prevention and preparedness. A large crowd is expected at the fire station on October 13. Guests are encouraged to bring cameras. Additionally, VHC members deliver outreach presentations.

Fire Prevention Week is October 9-15, 2016. The Theme for National Fire Prevention Month 2016 (October) is: “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years.”

As part of VHC’s continuing efforts to educate everyone in their community about essential elements of smoke alarm safety, this year’s Fire Prevention Open House will include:
• Information and demonstrations will be available to help families and individuals prevent unwanted fire, as well as preparedness information, should fire or other emergency/disaster strike, along with free literature on family preparedness.
• An interactive Fire Prevention ‘Pit Box’ (NASCAR-like) from the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Maryland State Fire Association.
• Information on Residential Fire Sprinkler Systems and how they work (installation of automatic home fire sprinklers in all new residential construction is now mandatory). The Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute/University of Maryland Fire Sprinkler Trailer will be doing live-fire demonstrations, showing the effectiveness of sprinklers in saving lives.
• Emergency Medical Services providers from the Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company will be on hand to showcase their life-saving skills and will conduct Blood Pressure Checks on request.
• Smokey the Bear will be present, courtesy of the Catoctin Mountain National Park.
• Information will be available regarding opportunities for residents and businesses alike to help their First Responders—even including how the public and the private sector institutions can be directly involved in supporting the VHC family help other families.
• Details regarding the countywide “Gear-Up” Campaign, a volunteer recruitment initiative regarding opportunities on how one can serve in emergency response roles or in non-operational support roles to local assist emergency services better help the community.
• Frederick County Resident Deputy Sheriffs will be on hand, offering crime prevention materials and safety insights.
• Face Painting and Fire Truck Rides* will be offered. *Important Note: Children admitted to ride must meet the mandates of state law regarding age and size (no child car seats are available in fire apparatus).
• Free refreshments, courtesy of the Vigilant Hose Company Auxiliary, will be available for all attendees.
• Door Prizes will be available for persons of all ages (winners must be present to win).

In light of two recent area fires of significance, a Home Fire Safety Visitation effort, including Smoke Alarm awareness information, began Saturday, December 12, 2015, reaching Emmitsburg area residents. Red Cross volunteers and local fire/rescue first responders were joined by other safety advocates in going door-to-door, promoting the importance of having working smoke alarms in place and helping to answer questions and/or providing assistance with existing smoke alarms.

The joint effort was undertaken by a number of fire safety advocates from across the region, working together to help assure fire safety in homes, apartments, and similar residential occupancies.

The two recent fire events occurred on: Wednesday, December 2, 2015, in a commercial/residential building (apartments) on South Seton Avenue (residents displaced; business disruption); and Monday, December 7, 2015, on West Main Street (double-fatality, plus one serious injury; residents displaced).

During the Home Fire Safety Visitation effort, personnel were out and about in the community, offering insights on simple and easy-to-accomplish home fire safety measures, including installing free smoke alarms where requested. Safety personnel—men and women—wore easily-identified apparel, showing their affiliations.

Emergency services vehicles were seen in various neighborhoods during visitation periods. Anyone interested can also call the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) fire station at 301-447-2728 to request a visit or follow-up visit at a suitable time. A door-hanger information card was left at each home if no one was home, as well as where residents may prefer safety teams to return at a more convenient time to discuss safe practices and/or install an alarm.

The new alarms have non-removable 10-year lithium batteries, plus also include a “Hush” feature for accidental activations, such as from vapors during cooking periods, from fire places when a damper is not initially opened, and so forth. Teams will offer to replace any existing alarm more than ten years old, including any that use 9-volt batteries, which must be replaced at least yearly.

Jointly with the Vigilant Hose Company, this important initiative was taken in cooperation and coordination with efforts already underway by the American Red Cross of Western Maryland, the Town of Emmitsburg, the Emmitsburg Council of Churches, the Fire Prevention Committee of the Frederick County Volunteer Fire/Rescue Association, the Frederick County Department of Fire & Rescue Services and the Frederick County’s Fire Marshal’s Office, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Fire Administration/National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg Volunteer Ambulance Company, Mount Saint Mary’s University, area Media Outlets, the Seton Center, the Emmitsburg Business & Professional Association, and area Service Clubs.

Further information is available on various websites like those of the Vigilant Hose Company, Town Government, and so on. Additionally, for residents living inside town limits, information will also be posted on the Town’s Cable Channel.

Note: This effort did not include installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors, but the VHC will gladly help with that effort upon request in the coming weeks.