Firefighter safety promotion Tuesday

On Tuesday, the Westminster Volunteer Fire Department will join with fire service organizations across the United States and Canada to bring attention to the rapidly rising number of firefighter deaths and injuries in our nation. This day will be dedicated to issues involving personal and organizational firefighter safety. I'm appealing to the public to recognize the sacrifice and dedication of these brave volunteer and paid emergency services personnel.

"Stand-down" for firefighter safety will be the theme of June 21. This term is used by the military to correct an issue that has been identified as a problem throughout its ranks. The department's Safety Committee is preparing a plan for the event.

Westminster firefighters will focus on firefighter safety this day. The event will include PowerPoint presentations, group discussions with each oncoming shift, poster displays, as well as constant reminder notices on safety issues which have been identified as some of the reasons firefighters are being killed and seriously injured.

Firefighters are being killed at an alarming rate. As of May 1, there have been 50 line-of-duty firefighter deaths. This is 10 more than at the same time last year. Some of the top sources of firefighter deaths include: over exertion of personnel in training and on fire grounds, operating in dangerous offensive positions on a fire ground, using inappropriate or damaged equipment and tools, poor health habits and exercise, emergency response collisions, operating on scenes and being struck by motorists.

It is my responsibility as the chief to assure that all emergency services personnel in the department have the tools, knowledge involving the safety standards, standard operating procedures and most of all the constant reminders and awareness of all safety issues. My goal is to assure department personnel and their family members that "Everyone comes home."

I urge members of the community to be constantly aware of emergency service personnel working out on the highway and most of all, thank those who dedicate their lives to protect yours. Visit our station; we depend on your continued support everyday.

Kevin Utz

The writer is fire chief of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1.

Westminster band occupies new home

On Sunday, May 15, after enduring almost 1 1/2 years of demolition and renovation work, the building located at 40 John St. in downtown Westminster officially became "Home" to the Westminster Municipal Band. This project was made possible through the collaborative efforts of the band's membership, the membership and executive board of Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1 and the Westminster city government.

The building is owned by the Westminster Fire Department and their membership's agreement and support in renting the building to the band opened the door to various possibilities in customizing the space to meet the needs of our membership. The city of Westminster, with assistance from former Mayor Kevin Dayhoff and Thomas Beyard, director of the Department of Planning and Public Works, was able to obtain grant money that enabled us to make the dream of a customized rehearsal space a reality.

While a major portion of the renovation work was completed by members of the band, as in any project, outside help was needed to complete various projects.

The following contractors and businesses worked to make our building a home: Stone Shooters; Thomas, Bennett & Hunter Inc.; Stanley D. Groves Jr. & Sons Concrete Construction Inc.; Belair Road Supply Co. Inc.; 84 Lumber Co.; Lowe's; Hoffhein Bros. Inc.; Taneytown Drywall Co.; Donald B. Smith Roofing Inc.; Cooney's Heating & Air Conditioning LLC; Nusbaum Painting Co. Inc.; City Floors LLC; Towne Pride Interiors; Lau Security; Gavin Bullock - Westminster Lawn Service; and Westminster city maintenance employees.

The members of the Westminster Municipal Band wish to thank these businesses and individuals for providing their services and products (some of them free of charge or at a reduced cost) to help us stay within the budget as dictated by the available grant money.

The Westminster Municipal Band takes great pride in presenting quality parade and concert performances and this facility provides an environment that will aid us in working for that quality performance.

The band is a volunteer organization for youth and adults ages 14 and up. Membership is granted after a person participates in eight rehearsals and/or performances. No auditions are required for membership - just a demonstration of a love of music and a willingness to participate in as many of our performances as your work and family schedule allows.

The band has been in existence since 1893. We thank everyone for their support of this organization and we look forward to many more years of providing musical entertainment to the state of Maryland and surrounding areas.

If anyone has any questions about the Westminster Municipal Band, please contact President Greg Wantz at 410-848-8852 or find us on the web at www.westminsterband.com.

Sandy Miller, Director

Greg Wantz, President

and the board of directors

Westminster Municipal Band

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