WEST MILFORD, W.Va. — As part of Operation “Not One More” CONSOL Energy partnered with the Clarskburg Fire Department to provide each first grade student at West Milford Elementary School with a working smoke detector.
The company reached out to the department after learning about the program that aims to provide the devices to first graders across Harrison County.
Ryan Majic, safety supervisor for West Virginia Gas Operations at CONSOL said the $1,200 donations to purchase the 75 detectors handed out Monday was a sign of their commitment to safety.
“Our number one priority and value is safety. It’s not only something that we focus and concentrate on while we’re on the job, but also outside of work with out families.”
Operation “Not One More” began after the death of a first grade student in Harrison County who died in a fire along with her brother and father.
The girl had recently been in a classroom visited by Cpt. Cindy Murphy, director of Safety and Training for the Clarksburg Fire Department. After she heard the news of the child’s passing, she knew they had to do more.
“We wanted to make sure that everybody has a working smoke detector,” she said. “This is a great one because it’s a 10-year smoke detector that they don’t have to change the battery.”
As part of distributing the detectors, Murphy and donors travel around the schools teaching the children how to properly monitor the detectors by checking them monthly, and other fire safety tips such as developing an escape plan should their home catch on fire.
“It’s very important and it’s really nice that we can get in and start to work with them at this age,” Majic said. “These are lessons that they’ll carry with them through their childhood.”
To ensure that the detectors are installed, Murphy informs the children that if their parents or caretakers can not, members from their local fire department will assist when available. She also includes her phone number in the packet the devices come with.
“Sometimes its intimidating for somebody to call and try to find somebody at the fire department,” Murphy said. “I wanted them to make sure that they had a phone number that, regardless of where they live whether it was in West Milford, or Salem, or Shinnston, that they could call me and I’d get a hold of the local fire department for them and make sure that they had a way to get that smoke detector up.”
The original goal for Operation “Not One More” was to collect 850 detectors to distribute to each Harrison County first grader. Through donations, Murphy said they have been able to reach that number and cover each first grader in public school, with three private schools still to visit as of Monday.
With a new group of first graders coming in next year, Murphy is looking to provide them all with smoke detectors as well.
“I’m planning on making this an every year program as long as I can continue to receive funding from great companies like CONSOL, and Antero and several of the others. The Red Cross has been out putting up smoke detectors and we’ve had several charities [including] Lockhead-Martin,” she said. “They’ve all been great about making sure that we have funding to do this.”
Donations can be made in the form of a check written out to the International Association of Firefighters Local 89 with “Smoke Detector Program” in the memo line, and sent to the Clarksburg Fire Department at 465 West Main Street Clarksburg, WV 26301.