Nestled in a quiet section of Ferndale sits an unimposing building that is home to the Anne Arundel Alarmers Association.
The three-story structure houses a 40-foot bus, several smaller vehicles, a meeting room and a recreational area with a kitchen.
For those of us who may not know much about the association, the Alarmers is a support group of volunteer men and women who provide help when needed to the fire department, the police department and other emergency personnel.
The Alarmers are ready to respond to second-alarm house fires, third-alarm field fires and police actions on a moment's notice. They are there to provide coffee, donuts, hot dogs, sodas and soup.
They serve these people from their extraordinary vehicle, which they call the "bus" -- a self-contained unit stocked with enough food to feed up to 300 people.
It also contains medical supplies and emergency equipment that can be used to minister to two heart-attack patients at one time. This custom-made vehicle cost $250,000. Alarmers Bill Seiglein and Dave Altvater say it is probably the only one of its kind in the United States and possibly the world.
The bus they have is the fourth they have purchased, each one larger and better equipped. The main bus is supported by other backup and supply vehicles.
The idea for this emergency support group came in 1958 when Al Brandt and two friends were watching a huge fire that destroyed the A & P Food store on Crain Highway.
Frank Pleyo, a 17-year veteran of the Alarmers, recalls the night.
"I remember that fire, I could see the smoke here in Ferndale. It was real cold, I mean really cold that night."
Pleyo says Brandt decided that something had to be done.
The firemen didn't have hot coffee or anything to eat. Pleyo remembered what Al told everyone: "The firemen's hands were so cold, the water was almost freezing coming out of the hoses."
Within a few months, Brandt, his brother, Wilbur, Harry Arrow and George Lord had recruited volunteers, bought an old bread truck to use as a coffee wagon and officially founded the Anne Arundel Alarmers Association.
The organization has grown and changed over the years. It first operated out of the Ferndale Fire Station on Baltimore & Annapolis Boulevard, but in 1969 the Alarmers purchased an old grocery store on Glenmont Road and converted it into the present facility.
Next week we'll take a look at the Alarmers' membership and the operation of the association.
The Performing Arts Association of Linthicum has announced the performers scheduled for the 1991-1992 concert season.
Mark your calendar for these dates:
* Bill Schustik, the American Troubador, will appear 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, North County High School.
* The Ballet Theatre of Annapolis will present "The Nutcracker" 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23, NCHS.
* Pianist Clive Swansborough will perform 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 1, at NCHS.
* The Bel Canto Singers will be featured at the Linthicum Heights United Methodist Church 3 p.m. Sunday, March 22,
* The final concert of the season will take place 8 p.m. Saturday, May 3, at NCHS when the Peabody Ragtime Ensemble and Friends will play.
To help patrons who are hearing impaired, PAAL has had a radio frequency system installedin the auditorium of NCHS.
Six personal receivers are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Patrons who would like to use them are required to leave their driver's license as a security deposit.
Anyone not already a member of PAAL and would like to join, subscription tickets can be purchased for $20.
Make your check payable to PAAL and send to: Performing Arts Association of Linthicum, Inc., P.O. Box 321, Linthicum Heights, 21090.
Anne Arundel County Schools will be opening next week. Some schools in our area have made changes in opening and dismissal times.
Phone numbers are included with each school listed below. If you are new to the area or havenot registered your child for kindergarten yet, please do so as soonas possible.
* Brooklyn Park/Lindale Middle-Junior High School, Hammonds Lane, will begin classes 8:05 a.m. and dismiss them 2:35 p.m.Students will be admitted to the building 7:45 a.m. Information: 789-8500.
* Ferndale Elementary, 105 Packard Ave., Hollins Ferry Road, begins instruction 8:50 a.m. with 3:05 p.m. dismissal. The kinder
garten class will meet 8:50 to 11:25 a.m. Students may enter the school 8:35 a.m. Information: 766-6260.
* George Cromwell Elementary, 525 Wellham Ave. Classes begin 8:45 a.m. and dismiss at 3 p.m. Kindergarten meets 8:45 to 11:20 a.m. Students may enter the building 8:30 a.m. Information: 761-8520.
* Hilltop Elementary, 6825 Melrose Ave., begins classes 8:45 a.m. and dismisses students at 3 p.m. Kindergarten classes will meet 8:45 to 11:20 a.m. and 12:25 to 3 p.m. Pupils can enter the building at 8:15 a.m. Information: 768-2321.