Fire Queen focuses on prevention

November 23, 1994|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,Sun Staff Writer

Ensuring that children aren't the only ones to receive fire prevention education is Angela Bowen's goal for the next year.

That's why the Hampstead resident -- who recently won the Carroll County Fire Prevention Queen contest -- is offering to plan fire drills for county churches.

"This is something different to let all ages know about fire prevention," said Ms. Bowen, a freshman nursing student at Villa Julie College. "This way I can reach children, adults, elderly and disabled."

Ms. Bowen's first successful drill was at her home church, Grace rTC United Methodist, a few weeks ago. She has also conducted a fire drill at Greenmount United Methodist Church.

"With the churches, I design the fire drill plan and talk to the preacher," Ms. Bowen said. The drill is planned for after church one Sunday, and parishioners are informed when they arrive that morning, she said.

"Most churches usually have nurseries, so during the worship service I talk to the children so they know what is going on and don't get frightened," Ms. Bowen said. A fire truck with members of the nearest volunteer company in gear also accompanies Ms. Bowen to each drill, she said.

"I want them to see it so they know what to expect if a fire should occur in their home," Ms. Bowen said. "I ask the [volunteer firefighters] to talk to them about that and the 'stop, drop and roll.' "

"Stop, drop and roll" is what children are taught to do if their clothing catches fire.

The fire drills are also a way for Ms. Bowen to become involved with all the county volunteer fire companies she now represents, not just her native Hampstead.

"I became interested through my boyfriend," said Ms. Bowen of her interest in becoming county fire queen. Ms. Bowen won the Hampstead Fire Queen competition earlier this year.

"They were looking for girls to run this past year, and I got involved that way," she said.

Ms. Bowen said she narrowly missed an opportunity to be involved with fire prevention statewide during the Maryland Fire Chiefs Association representative competition this weekend.

She lost Sunday's contest, in which Miss Winfield, Nicole Laster, took first place.

Her downfall, Ms. Bowen said, was simply not having enough time to devote to the position.

"With majoring in nursing and my duties representing Carroll County and still doing things with Hampstead, I told them I probably wouldn't have the time to do a very, very good job," Ms. Bowen said. "That probably ruined my chances, but they told me to be honest."

Ms. Bowen will get another chance at a statewide crown during the annual Maryland Fire Prevention Queen contest at the state firefighters convention in June in Ocean City, she said.

But for now, she said she'll be satisfied with increasing the fire prevention knowledge of those closest to home.

"I want to spread the word of fire prevention any way I can," Ms. Bowen said. "To me, fire prevention means teaching all age groups how to prevent fires within the home."

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