SHIPPENSBURG, PA. – Members of the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Firemen’s Association strayed from business as usual Thursday to hear a fire safety message from a middle school student and her mother.
Madi Definbaugh said youths her age are more apt to listen if it comes from a peer. That’s why her fire safety message is geared toward middle school students.
And, she’s the first to admit that papers handed to students in school end up in the bottom of backpacks – never to see the light of day at home or come in contact with parents.
To change that, the Ohio teen hands out orange and yellow wristbands with her program slogan – Enhance for the Chance – and a website address.
Definbaugh said it’s important kids know what to do in an emergency since they’re the ones being left alone with children.
She and her mother, Candice McDonald, have taken their bracelets and fire prevention program to several states recently.
Definbaugh, a soft spoken girl, said a group of elderly women had a lot of excuses why they didn't have smoke detectors. "They didn't get to me, really. I gave them a safety check list and told them they should have smoke detectors..."
McDonald said she’s proud that her daughter is excited about being involved with Ohio Fire Corps, which has supported them with logos, t-shirts, handouts and the bracelets.
The mother-daughter team understand that they need to reach out to social media to get young people’s attention. “You have to make it fun,” McDonald said.
McDonald and her husband, volunteer firefighters, wondered if their children would know what to do when they were left alone. Now, they're making sure others know as well.
A women’s leadership group of Kent State University students also are working on a video that will be available soon.
The two said it was an honor to be invited to participate at the CVVFA association.
Also on Thursday, CVVFA members took time to honor colleagues who died since their last convention.
They include J. Robert Ayers, Merle K. Biser, Thomas A. Brooks Sr., Robert Cooper, Henry F. Delauney, Daniel Grove Sr., Clifford Houpt Jr., Richard Liller, Fred Newcomer, Jack Peltier, Chief Donald Ringer, Donald Small, Paul G. Staver and Willard W. White.
On Friday, fire service officials from various organizations will present information on a myriad issues.