By Jamie Smith Quinn
The museum has been a very busy place this summer! The museum’s Super Saturday programs have become very popular, which is evident from the great attendance the programs are experiencing. The last Super Saturday program the museum hosted was “Water Wars: an Interactive Learning Experience.”
This program was a huge hit. Firefighters from the South Schodack Fire Department challenged teams of children, two teams at a time, to fill a barrel with water with a fire hose faster than the other team.
The children learned, with the help of the firefighters, how much coordination and stamina it takes to aim a fire hose and hit the target consistently. They also learned how hot and heavy turnout gear is! Children who were a little too small to handle the hose used Indian Tanks to push a ball around cones and hit a target at the end of the course.
In addition, all of the visitors who stopped by the fire prevention tent to ask the firefighters fire prevention questions went home with a prize and other fire safety handouts. A special thank you to the firefighters from the South Schodack Fire Department for all their help with the event: together we taught children about firefighting and fire prevention and hopefully we inspired a few future firefighters.
The museum staff enjoys partnering with fire companies to host these types of events, and it is certainly exciting for the children to meet real firefighters. One mother said that for her son, “Water Wars was better than meeting Santa,” and she was sure he would be talking about his experience with the firefighters for months to come!
Another way the museum staff interacts with young people is by hosting interns through the Workforce NY program. This program allows the museum to gain the services of an intern at no cost to the museum, while allowing the intern to gain valuable work experience and training from the museum staff during their internship. This year, intern Kendall Gallant, who is also an Explorer with Greenport Fire Department No. 1, has been assisting the museum staff with collections care, education programs and visitors services. This outstanding young lady had previously volunteered at the museum and she is planning on pursuing a career in an emergency services vocation, and also has an interest in writing. We hope the training she received at the museum was as benefi cial to her as her help was to the museum staff .
And speaking of volunteers, I would just like to mention a wonderful volunteer the museum staff has been very fortunate to be able to count on for some time now. Firemen’s Home resident Steve Buttafuoco has been diligently dusting the apparatus, taking special care of the older hand-pumped apparatus in the collection, every week at the museum. I can best describe Steve as a volunteer with an employee’s work ethic. He is dependable, hardworking and approaches his volunteer assignments as if he were a full-time employee at the museum. We are very lucky to have such a gentleman volunteer at the museum, so thank you, Steve, for all your hard work and dedication to the museum and its apparatus collection.
Selected pieces of the museum’s apparatus collection can now also be seen on YouTube, thanks to a series of videos the museum staff has made. These videos can be seen anytime streamed anytime on the museum’s YouTube channel. Just visit YouTube.com and search for “FASNY Museum of Firefighting” to find it.
In addition to this, the museum staff also created a brochure to use within the museum for visitors to access these videos. A visitor can simply scan the QR code in the brochure with a smartphone, and the video concerning the apparatus will then play on their device.
Apparatus with videos are clearly marked for the visitor to identify as they tour the museum. Using this technology, the museum has created a virtual tour guide for the visitor, available on demand.
The museum staff has created five of these videos for the summer season, and will continue to add to this selection as time goes on. Museum staff member Nick Decker was instrumental in creating these videos for the museum and I would like to thank him for using his skills to help make this project come to fruition. I would also like to thank all the museum staff members who graciously agreed to function as hosts for these videos: Laura Manzi, Ashley Stever, Lori Decker and Jerry Hallenbeck.
Finally, this summer the museum received a grant from FM Global for fire prevention education. Because fire continues to be the leading cause of property damage worldwide, FM Global has contributed millions of dollars in fire prevention grants to fire service organizations around the globe for more than 35 years.
Locally, the company has awarded grants to a number of New York-based organizations.
“At FM Global, we strongly believe the majority of property damage is preventable, not inevitable,” said Michael Spaziani, manager of the fire prevention grant program. “Far too oft en, inadequate budgets prevent those organizations working to prevent fire from being as proactive as they would like to be. With additional financial support, grant recipients are actively helping to improve property risk in the communities they serve.”
Through its Fire Prevention Grant Program, FM Global awards grants quarterly to fire departments – as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide – that best demonstrate a need for funding. These are places where dollars can have the most demonstrable impact on preventing fire, or mitigating the damage it can quickly cause. The museum staff is very grateful for this generous grant award, which will help the museum staff to continue to present its groundbreaking fire education and prevention programs using distance-learning technology.
This story appears in the September/October edition of The Volunteer Firefighter magazine, just one of many benefits of FASNY membership.