Today I spent some time visiting the Salisbury Fire Department talking with some of the folks involved with the neighborhood sweep after the tragic fire on Washington Street this past weekend. I learned some interesting facts.
First let me say this. The smoke detector giveaway program has been in existence for about 15 years. I remember well when the duty crews would spend afternoons going door-to-door offering detectors and installation. If a detector were present, we would check to make sure it worked and install a new battery if needed.
In 2001, Chief Steven Brezler instituted the “After the Fire” program. Chief Brezler recognized the fact a neighborhood recently having a fire was in a high state of awareness about the dangers. With this sharpened perception of the danger, citizen more readily accepted the on site and immediate offer from the fire department to assist them in ensuring the safety of their home and family. The goal of this program was encompass about one city block. This by no means replaced or suspended the detector giveaway program already in existence; it was merely used as an enhancement tool in an area recently suffering a catastrophic fire.
On Tuesday night members of the Salisbury Fire Department met at Station 1 at 7:00 pm. Assistant Chief Gladwell whose job it was to organize the project briefed the team members on their assignments. Having received their instructions and required paperwork and material the teams left the station and arrived in the target neighborhood at about 7:30 pm, and set to work on the task at hand.
I am told there were 3 engines, 1 truck, 1 rescue, 1 squad, 2 support units and 3 staff vehicles in the convoy. 30 –35 members and officers of the department both career and volunteer manned all this equipment representing all three Salisbury stations. In all, a little more than 250 homes were visited. About 15 new smoke detectors were distributed (some of those installed), and more than thirty batteries were replaced in existing detectors. At many of the homes the occupants were away for the evening and the teams left letters explaining the reason for the visit and a cordial invitation for them to contact the SFD and arrange a time when it would convenient for someone to return. I am told there were 7 teams working and the operation concluded at about 9:45 pm.
Albero, under a thin veil of quasi praise continues to find fault with the operation of the fire department. In the past he has condemned news agencies for not attending events he felt worthy, now his beef is there were too many cameras on the scene. He feels slighted because he did not receive a cordial invitation from the department to attend. After the beating he given the fire department for months on end, why should expect anything less than what he got? He has also once again flip-flopped on his media/no media position. He now claims to again be a news source and not just an opinion maker. He even takes issue with one of the firefighters snapping his picture claiming they were “trying to make him feel uncomfortable.” How many photos has Albero taken of people without their permission, and for the sole reason of berating them? Albero takes great pleasure in arguing the point on the number of cameras present. What’s it to be Albero—too many or not enough? Either way he's not happy.
Not invited. To many cameras on hand draw attention away from you. Can’t decide if your media or not. Pity you? Not gonna happen!
Several persons I talked to today, at separate locations, have all agreed that A/C Gladwell got the ball rolling at 7:00 p.m. and 7:30 the event was under way. It’s not known how long Albero has had a defective watch, but maybe Santa can correct that by next Tuesday.
By holding the sweep in the time frame used it made it much easier for the volunteer members to participate, and caused much less disturbance to the neighborhood during the supper hour. I consider that being courteous and prudent.
Albero now has a post up that Salisbury Fire Department has denied requests from schools for visits from the Department. I can assure you this is not the case. Starting in the 1980’s the Salisbury Fire Dept has teamed up with the Ronald McDonald “Learn not to Burn” program and visited schools and presented programs annually. I know in the years I worked there if a school or day care center requested it, a fire engine and talk could be provided at any time.
It’s a no win situation for the fire department. Albero will manufacture 3 negative points for every bona-fide good one. He even questions the role Chief See played in the sweep. Chief See was there in a support role. One can only imagine what Albero would have to say had Chief See stayed at home. Of course not knowing the hierarchy of the department Albero has no clue as to what a support role is.
Many of the participants expressed how well the sweep went. They felt good about what they did. I understand the residents of the neighborhood were also impressed and thankful for the care shown to them.
In order to continue sweeps such as these it is necessary to have smoke detectors on hand. In the past generous donations from Delmarva Power & Light, Home Depot, Lowes, and others have been a tremendous help. But it is also donations from the citizens that help to maintain a supply of detectors at the ready. Albero sees fit to constantly ask you to throw away donation requests from the fire department, and then he berates the service at every turn. What would Albero’s take on the situation be last night if the supply of detectors ran dry due to lack of funds? I assure you, his hostility would run high.
The annual fund drive is now under way with the Salisbury Fire Department and I ask that each you be as generous as possible. Regardless of the size of the gift, you can be well assured if you need the Fire Department in Salisbury, they will be there.