EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

January 21, 2008

Family shines light on firefighter safety

By Penny Williams , Staff writer

HAMPSTEAD - Things are a little brighter for Hampstead firefighters, thanks to a donation from the Emmert family.

The Emmerts donated enough money to provide all town firefighters with personal hand lights and box lights, according to firefighter Rob Wolinski.

The department needed to replace its outdated lights, purchased in the late 1980s, he said.

"These lights make incident scenes safer for firefighters to operate in. They also help us in search-and-rescue situations," Wolinski said. "They are critical for firefighter safety and survival in building fires. They can spell the difference between being found or not by alerting other firefighters to where a trapped or disoriented firefighter is located."

It's thanks to families like the Emmerts that Hampstead firefighters have been able to keep their personal protection equipment up-to-date over the years, he said.

"The Hampstead firefighters express their thanks and gratitude to all who have helped the department to be better equipped so that, as a firefighting force, it can better serve the town," Wolinski said.

Personal protective equipment goes beyond a fireman's fire-retardant coat, pants, helmet and boots. It also includes: self-contained breathing apparatus, a personal alert safety system, a flashlight and/or lantern, a set of pocket tools, an accountability name tag, a radio communication device, prying tools and lifeline rope.