The Aegis
Harford County

Harford County Fire & EMS debuts new fire safety house

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held June 16 for the Harford County Fire and EMS Association’s new fire safety house at the Harford County Emergency Services headquarters in Forest Hill.

The house – a 35-foot mobile trailer – features a mock kitchen and bedroom. It simulates stove fires with realistic smoke and flames, and a bedroom door that gets warm to the touch. Fire and carbon monoxide alarms can be activated to show how each one works and the difference between them.


Interactive videos quiz visitors with age-appropriate questions on fire safety and flashing ceiling lights celebrate correct answers. An instructor teaches visitors what to do and what not to do, to stay safe.

“The best way to prevent fires is through education and this will enhance our ability to reach many age groups in one multimedia unit,” said Ron Sollod, fire prevention and life safety chair for the association.


County Executive Barry Glassman led the ceremony, and was thanked by fire officials for providing $130,000 in federal funds from the county budget for the unit. The structure is a next-generation training unit that was custom built for Harford County by Mobile Concepts in Mt. Pleasant, Pa.

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“I remember [fire officials] coming to me about doing a really state-of-the-art fire prevention safety house,” Glassman said. “We know the best way to prevent fire deaths, protect property and save lives is through prevention, teaching people how to save themselves and how not to start a fire.”

Glassman said that previous units were trailers that the volunteer firefighters retrofitted with demonstration capabilities but the new trailer has air conditioning, wifi, big screens and other interactive audiovisual equipment that will be particularly appealing for teaching children.

Other officials who joined the celebration included Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci, senior deputy fire marshals Dexter Hodges and Derek Chapman, and Harford County Sheriff Jeff Gahler.

Members from each of the 12 volunteer fire departments in Harford County, who participate on a countywide fire prevention and life safety committee to teach risk reduction information to the public, will serve as instructors.

The association will operate the house, which is available to visit local schools, businesses and community centers. Visits can be scheduled by contacting Sollod at

Harford County Fire and EMS Association has 1,500 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical service personnel who respond to more than 8,000 fire and 25,000 EMS calls annually, according to the organization’s website.

Aegis staff member Matt Button also contributed to this story.