MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Someone near and dear to Rosy Dorffner’s heart perished in a Cheverly house fire on March 31, 2013. Sadly, a fire claimed the life of her longtime fellow club member and friend, Stephanie Syslo, in a home that was not protected by working smoke alarms. In the aftermath of the tragedy, she had been angst-ridden over finding a way to memorialize her friend. When she learned of the Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department’s Safety First Smoke Alarm Program, Rosy knew she had her answer.
Through the Fire/EMS Department’s smoke alarm program, Prince George’s County residents can request a free smoke alarm. Upon receiving a request, a firefighter schedules a visit to the home and installs the device at no cost to the resident. Additionally, within 24 hours after a significant fire or fire-related incident involving death or serious injury, firefighters are out canvassing the community where the incident occurred. They go door-to-door, asking to check smoke alarms and providing as much information as possible about the incident. The program, Post Incident Neighborhood Intervention Program (PINIP), is an effective community outreach effort that produces both positive interaction and public education. We find that residents are more apt to allow firefighters into their homes to conduct a smoke alarm check and safety inspection following a fire-related tragedy. The interaction between the Fire/EMS Department and the community also serves to quell potential rumors about what has occurred.
Rosy and her fellow Star Trek Association of Towson members felt that donating money toward the purchase of smoke alarms for the Fire/EMS Department’s program would be an excellent way to pay tribute to their friend. The group collected nearly $250, which will greatly assist in the Department’s efforts to ensure that every home in Prince George’s County is protected by working smoke alarms. Firefighters are planning a door-to-door campaign in the community where Rosy’s friend lost her life.
Rosy’s idea to honor her friend by contributing to the prevention of death and serious injury that too often occurs in fire-related incidents could not have been more fitting. In the event of a home fire, the donated smoke alarms will provide an early warning that will afford a few precious moments for the occupants to “get out alive.”
On behalf of the men and women of the Fire/EMS Department and the residents of Prince George’s County, thank you Rosy and the members of the Star Trek Association of Towson for your contribution.