MCFRS News Release

Nation's Firefighters On-the-Road to Raise Awareness and Reduce Firefighter Deaths

National Fallen Firefighters Group Promotes 20-City Fire Safety Tour and will Visit Montgomery County, Maryland

ROCKVILLE, MD (April 25, 2007) - The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation along with other public safety groups and corporate partners have launched the Everyone Goes Home™ Tour, a cross country trek to raise awareness about the need to reduce firefighter line of duty deaths.

The 20-city, 37-day tour will be in the Washington metro area on this Saturday, April 28, 2007. The event will take place at Lowe's of Gaithersburg located at 205 Kentland's Boulevard, Gaithersburg, MD from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tragically, on Monday April 16, 2007 this area suffered the loss of Prince William County, Va. Firefighter Technician I Kyle Wilson. Firefighter Wilson died in the 'line-of-duty' while at a house fire in Woodbridge, Virginia. His funeral took place on last Saturday, April 21 and was attended by approximately 5,000 people. Firefighter Wilson was 24 years old.

In a statement made on the day of the fire, Prince William County Fire Chief Mary Beth Michos noted,

"This is the first time in our 41-year history for a line of duty fatality. As a Department, our grief knows no bounds. We will continue to do everything we can to support the Wilson family during this difficult time. I also want to acknowledge the heroic efforts of Technician Wilson's fellow firefighters who risked their own lives to in efforts to save his. Despite all our efforts to provide the best training and equipment, there are still risks that our firefighters face everyday. This is very sad day for Technician Wilson's family, the Department, the County and all firefighters everywhere."

Each year, approximately 100 firefighters throughout America die in the line of duty. Now, through a grant from the Dunkin' Brands Community Foundation, Dunkin' Donuts and the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation are joining forces to try to prevent these tragedies. The men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service are fully committed to the efforts of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF), which is headquartered at the National Fire Academy, in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The upcoming tour stop will include speeches from local dignitaries and survivors of fallen firefighters. In addition, there will be a family-friendly information fair, complete with fire trucks and equipment, fire safety exhibits and free treats from Dunkin' Donuts.

The nation-wide Whistle-Stop tour, made possible, in part, through a nearly $250,000 grant from The Dunkin' Brands Community Foundation, is a centerpiece of the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation educational campaign, Everyone Goes Home. The campaign is a bold new initiative to reduce preventable line-of-duty deaths by 50 percent in the next ten years.

The Everyone Goes Home effort centers on implementing 16 firefighter-lifesaving initiatives. These initiatives offer real-world solutions to fire service problems, including training improvements, culture change and better fire prevention.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Tom Carr and County Executive Isiah Leggett recently were presented with the NFFF 'Seal of Excellence.' Montgomery County was recognized for implementing the foundation's Everyone Goes Home Program, which improves firefighter safety with its 16 life safety initiatives. The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is one of the first and largest combination (career/volunteer) departments in the United States to be able to fully implement all aspects of these firefighter safety initiatives.

The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has launched a nationwide campaign to advocate Everyone Goes Home and the Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives. Central to this campaign is the upcoming America's Fire Heroes Whistle-Stop Tour, in which fire service leadership and survivors of fallen firefighters will travel across America during April and May, campaigning for life safety in 20 cities.

The official kick-off of America's Heroes Whistle-Stop Tour commenced in San Francisco, California on April 5, 2007 and included a motor coach, accommodating 55 people, wrapped with the program's message "Everyone Goes Home" and is the center piece of attention. The bus also bears the names of 3,147 firefighters who died in the line of duty since 1981, the first year names were compiled for the National Memorial. At each stop, local fire departments, officials, and citizens will participate in the day's events of speeches, survivor stories, life safety displays, music, and Everyone Goes Home seminars.

America's firefighter line-of-duty deaths and injury rates are the highest of any industrialized nation. On average, a firefighter dies in the line of duty every 78 hours, and every six minutes a firefighter is seriously injured. Many, if not most, of these deaths and injuries are preventable. Again, at the program's core are the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives, created by the national fire service leadership to serve as a blueprint for firefighter death and injury prevention.

Borrowing from political campaign approaches of the past, the America's Fire Heroes Whistle-Stop Tour brings the life-safety message of Everyone Goes Home and the Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives directly to American fire departments and the communities that support them. Firefighters, survivors, and members of the NFFF will be at each city along the route to discuss these critical issues.

The America's Fire Heroes Whistle-Stop Tour will visit the following cities:

DATE/CITY

Montgomery County, Maryland 'Whistle Stop' Tour Visit

DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2007.
LOCATION: Lowe's of Gaithersburg, 205 Kentland's Boulevard, Gaithersburg, MD
TIME: 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.