Fire fighters take a message to kidsA great tragedy...

the Forum

May 05, 1993

Fire fighters take a message to kids

A great tragedy occurred April 23 when five Baltimore City children were killed in a rowhouse fire.

Capt. Hector Torres was correct when he stated, "This latest fire typifies a lot of the wrong things that happen. The kids just don't know what to do."

But there is a group that has been taking that message to area elementary schools.

The Metropolitan Fire Fighters Burn Center Fund Inc. has purchased a one-of-a-kind robotic character named "Burnie," which visits area elementary schools.

The MFFBCF is a charitable organization made up of representatives of area fire fighter union locals belonging to the International Association of Fire Fighters. The locals represent fire fighters and fire officers from Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Anne Arundel County, Howard County, Annapolis and BWI airport.

Also represented is the staff of the Baltimore Regional Burn Center, including Dr. Andrew Munster, the center's director.

Members of the MFFBCF have visited area schools on their off-duty time to allow Burnie to take his messages to the children.

There are two themes. One is "Matches Are Not Toys," which teaches children fire prevention lessons.

The other is "Fire, What Would You Do?" The latter is aided by a video depicting children playing at home in a third floor bedroom when they hear the smoke detector alarm. The video describes the steps to be taken to escape the building.

The MFFBCF has been visiting schools for the past two years. We feel that every child should be armed with this information to protect themselves from fire and serious burns.

As professional fire fighters, fire officers and paramedics of the central Maryland area, we are the ones who must deal first-hand with these tragedies and share the heartache with the families of burn victims. That is why we spend the money and time needed to see that every child gets the proper life-saving knowledge.

Joe Machovec

Abingdon

Envelope, please

The Russians may vote for democracy, but they are in for a surprise if they think it automatically leads to responsive government.

My senator in Annapolis has not responded for several years to my letters on the subject of reforming the state student scholarship program. This year I wrote him again, enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope for his convenience. No response.

Finally I wrote him again asking for the return of the envelope. Still no response. If only I had the clout of Bruce Bereano I could get not only a response but also my envelope back!

M. R. Brown

Baltimore

Outrageous

The recent sentencing of rapist Lawrence A. Gillette to probation before judgment by Baltimore County Circuit Court Judge Thomas J. Bollinger is an outrageous insult to women.

But men should be just as insulted by the attitude and reasoning that underlie this light sentence.

One juror commented, "I thought they both were guilty -- her for being there, and him for taking advantage of the situation." There seems to be an underlying presumption that when men "need" sex, they must have it.

Unfortunately, the individuals controlling our system of justice assume that men cannot control their sexual drives. Therefore women should be alert at all times and take care not to "be there" when men turn into uncontrollable sexual beasts.

Apparently it is excusable for any man to "relieve himself" with the woman who happens to be closest whenever his biological desires start raging -- even if she is unconscious -- because he cannot control himself.

If I were a man, I would be insulted by this notion.

Judith A. De Libera

Baltimore

Loitering

I applaud the fact that a major face-lifting will be given to the Woodmoor Shopping Center along Liberty Road.

At present, many of the people from the community do not patronize the stores and shops because of the loitering that is permitted to occur. Therefore, along with the structural improvements, it is imperative that the loitering is eliminated.

We must encourage community and county representatives to help foster a non-threatening shopping environment for every shopper.

We must also encourage community members in conjunction with the merchants to help initiate programs to keep the areas around the shopping center much cleaner.

Dennyse C. Drummond

Baltimore

Appalled

Watching C-Span, I was appalled by the obnoxious statements of a lesbian speaker concerning Hillary Clinton.

As one who associated with people of all kinds in my 70-plus years, I respected those who respected me and themselves regardless of their sexual orientation. Their private lives were not my concern.

But, outrageous conduct in public cannot and should not be sanctioned. I am sure it went over big at the White House.

Mildred Brown

Hydes

Standing up

Thank you for standing up for gun control.

Someone said the only way evil can win is for good men to do nothing. How true!

Margaret Whittle

Baltimore

Smoking isn't cool

It is terrible to learn that so many teen-agers smoke cigarettes, since the earlier one starts smoking the harder it is to stop.

Cigarette smoking is not hip or cool, as so many advertisements would lead one to believe. It is a very bad habit that leads to lung cancer, certain kinds of leukemia and various other illnesses.

We need more education in schools about the hazards of smoking, and cigarettes need to be unavailable to minors. Also, parents need to get a good example and not smoke themselves.

I know that there is a lot of peer pressure for teen-agers, but what I would tell any teen-ager to say when his or her friends try to pressure them into smoking is be your own person. Don't follow the crowd just to be popular, because what is popular is not always what is best for you and in the long run you won't be popular -- you'll be dead because cigarette smoking kills.

Murphy Edward Smith

Baltimore

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