by Lisa Tome
Holly Trego has learned to stop, drop, and roll with it.
Trego, longtime Fire Prevention Coordinator for Singerly, Cecil's busiest fire company, has an escape plan for any emergency that crops up while teaching fire safety.
In the 13 years that she has been teaching fire prevention in schools and hosting visitors to the station, she knows to expect the unexpected. And with October, Fire Prevention month, looming, Trego is ready.
"It's not one day, one week, or one month. We do fire prevention at camps and day cares year round," said Trego, who is assisted by a committee, whose members include her sister, Kay.
Last week, the two women were at Singerly's main station on Newark Avenue, stuffing goody bags that will be passed out to children. The bags contain a coloring book, color-changing ruler and pencil, stickers, and a badge. "We put in silly bands (bracelets) one year. Then we found out they had been banned in the schools. We try to make the bags fun and educational," said Holly Trego.
They talked about their experiences teaching children to be safe.
Once, they prepared for 15 cub scouts to turn out at the station for a tour. They ended up hosting 15 packs of scouts and their parents which filled most of the bays at the station. "The adults are interested and eager. They can't believe these are volunteers. They are in awe," said Holly Trego.
"The price of a piece of equipment (fire apparatus) always blows their mind," said Kay Trego.
"After 9/11, people finally understood what we're doing. And now they realize that we're doing it as volunteers," said Holly Trego.
One of the many chores to be tackled during fire prevention is visits to schools, the YMCA, and daycare centers. Before October is finished, Singerly's volunteers will have taken their fire prevention program to about 30 locations. That includes three private schools, the YMCA, Holly Hall, Elk Neck, Leeds, Thomson Estates, Gilpin Manor, Cecil Manor, and Kenmore elementary schools as well as large day cares located in the Elkton area. They will also be part of County Fire Prevention Day which will be held at Lowe's North East on October 13 beginning at 10 a.m. They will host boy and girl scouts and clubs at the stations.
At all the locations they teach the basics: exit drills in the home, stop, drop and roll, and calling 911. They also show off fire gear and apparatus.
Both sisters are dispatchers. Kay works for the Maryland State Police. Holly works for Cecil County Department of Emergency Services. "I'm your one stop shop for public safety," Holly said.
She doesn't wait for October to roll around before she starts planning. Holly begins contacting schools in July to schedule the presentations. "I've been doing it long enough that I have a good rapport with the administrators. I think a lot of them are interested in having us come to the schools. But it's hard to fit it into the curriculum," she said.
They don't limit their lessons to just children. They also teach special needs children and adults and senior citizens. "We cater to all walks of life," added Holly Trego.