Naples Public Safety Day, a chance to show upgrades


By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Numerous improvements have taken place at the Naples Fire and Rescue Department’s fire station.

“Every vertical space and every horizontal space, every space inside and outside the fire station has been painted” by the work release crew from the Cumberland County Jail, according to Deputy Chief Mark Scribner.

He estimated that about 7,000 square feet received fresh coats of paint. “They did a nice job,” he said.

Plus, the price was right. The labor was provided for free.

Meanwhile, money banked by the Naples Fire Association and set aside for station renovations was spent on items that couldn’t be put off any longer.

The aging kitchen was completely revamped from the tile to the ceiling. A former assistant fire chief, Todd Flagg, used his carpentry skills to install the cupboards and cabinets. Dave Gerrish took care of the electric hookups, which included installing a new dishwasher. Not doing dishes by hand is something the staff appreciates, Scribner said.

“Staff members are here for 24 hours at a time. People are more health conscious. We should have good facilities for them to eat healthy,” he said.

On Saturday, some personnel were busy in the fire station kitchen, cooking batches of burgers and deep-frying French fries — made to order. The food was for the public as the fire and rescue staff hosted an open house.

The event was an opportunity to show off the fire apparatuses and equipment including the John Deer all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and a rigid hull inflatable boat. The new rescue boat was acquired this spring through surplus auction.

About 200 people attended the open house, which happened between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, according to Naples Town Manager Ephrem Paraschak, who also serves on the department.

Grants have helped to cover the cost of pagers and fire hose. Those items were purchased for both Naples’ and Denmark’s fire and rescue departments.

“The pagers are an upgrade to the old pagers. We’ve got 37. That’s enough to issue one to everyone,” Scribner said.

Paraschak played a major role in getting the replacement items through the Assistant Firefighter Grant (AFG) programs, Scribner said.

A much more visible improvement is the removal of invasive weeds around the sign close to Route 302, he said. He added that the flowers growing around the sign this summer had been there all along. The flower bed was obscured by the Japanese knotweed, a fast-growing invasive bush with a bamboo like stems.

“Ephrem really tackled that project,” Scribner said.

What really stands out for most people passing by the fire station?

A new digital sign was installed last week, Scribner said. The sign was paid for by funds from the fire association’s annual comedy show, he said. It is no laughing matter when the old digital sign was on the fritz.

For months, only part of the sign would light up consistently. So, it was difficult for personnel to use the digital sign to put out messages to the public about events, people in the community, school sports teams or important reminders. The digital sign “was 12 years old. It was old enough that they don’t have parts for it anymore,” Scribner said.

In another effort to assist the public, the department has been offering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training on a monthly basis. The course is free, except for the cost of the card, which is only $4. CPR training is the most requested class, mostly from people in the healthcare profession.

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