Published on: Wednesday, June 1, 2016 Takoma Park Newsletter

TPMS students: Organized to make a difference for fire safety

On the morning of Saturday, April 16, two Takoma Park Middle School students rang the doorbells at many Takoma Park homes. The students at the door were part of six fire safety teams going throughout the City asking if they could assist residents with fire safety checks and information. Each team had two TPMS students, two TP firefighters and two adults.

Trained by the Red Cross, and working with the TP Fire Department, the TPMS students greeted residents, told them about the fire safety project, provided information and asked residents questions:

  • When did you last check your smoke alarm?
  • Do you have an agreed upon meeting place if you all get separated?
  • How old is your smoke alarm? (Maximum operation is 10 years.)
  • How many smoke alarms do you have? (There should be one on each floor and near the sleeping areas.)

Led by the students, these teams provided information about fire emergency preparation and dealing with power outages and distributed house plan cards so residents could mark their exits. If residents’ smoke alarms were too old or not working, TP fire department team members installed new ones at no cost. Moreover, if there were deaf people in the house, the Red Cross was immediately alerted, and a firefighter returned and installed an alarm designed for the deaf. This is the first time the Red Cross has conducted the fire safety project with middle school students. Bravo, TPMS.

Eighth graders Helen Do and Sophia Weng, two of TPMS students who participated in the project, are members of Difference Makers (www., a Takoma Park Middle School organization students started in 2009. Since then, the Difference Makers have grown from 40 to about 160 members, incorporated as a nonprofit organization, and sponsored and participated in many volunteer activities. The group’s sponsor is science teacher Bryan Goehring.

For the fire safety program, Helen Do had contacted the Red Cross. Information was then emailed to all Difference Makers at TPMS with a registration form. Training by the Red Cross was held at the TP Firehouse. Teams were assigned to different streets with the materials and checklists. And off they went throughout Takoma Park.

This article appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Takoma Park Newsletter. The Takoma Park Newsletter is available for download here.