Malden’s Fourth Annual Public Safety Day

All photos by Zhi Zhu.

Many families participated in Malden’s Fourth Public Safety Day as part of Fire Prevention Week, enjoying music, free food, and activities held at the Linden School on October 9th. The event, co-sponsored by Malden's Fire Department and Police Department, included fire engines, police cars, an ambulance, SWAT, DPW trucks, and even a helicopter landing!

Public Safety Day flyer.

What is Malden’s Public Safety Day? The day coincides with the first day of National Fire Prevention Week every October. Pamphlets of the event were posted on the City of Malden’s website and on social media. It focuses the “nation’s attention on the importance of practicing fire safety in and around the home.”

The event is also meant to help raise awareness of the importance of having properly placed and maintained smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in one's home. Further, it “stresses the importance of having and practicing a home fire escape plan,” mentioned Bill Sullivan, Chief of the Malden Fire Department. The day is to raise awareness of fire and personal safety in your home with your family and “helps us, here in Malden, ‘kick off’ fire prevention week."

A retro firetruck converted into a pizza oven at the back, used to make pizzas during the event.

The theme of this year’s event was Fire won’t wait, Plan your escape!, which “stresses the importance of designing and practicing a fire escape plan for your home, [which is] similar to the concept of school fire drills,” Sullivan explained. 

He mentioned how homes today burn hotter and faster than in the past from using plastics and synthetic materials in furniture, “so time is vital.” Sullivan emphasized that “when the smoke detector or carbon monoxide detectors sound, all occupants should leave the home immediately and call 911 from outside the home…[and] call 911 at the earliest possible moment in an emergency situation.”

The event, being fun and educational, helped the community, especially with kids, meet with and ask questions for Malden firefighters, police officers, and other first responders of the community. “People attending are informed of the fire prevention messages and other safety messages from the police.” 

It helped build relationships between first responders and members of the community, as well as letting “other city and state departments, organizations and agencies that play important roles in our community…introduce themselves to those interested and explain their roles in the community,” Sullivan mentioned.

So what was this year’s Public Safety Day? It was mostly a continuation of previous years’ events besides “bolstering and working to improve upon what the event already consists of.” However, this year the event was believed to have “experienced the largest crowd of attendees in the four years” since it has been held, explained Sullivan. 

The presence of Malden Fire, Police, and Cataldo Ambulance vehicles and equipment demonstrations and the Massachusetts State Police Arson Investigation K-9 dog attracted many, but most notably was a visit by the Massachusetts State Police helicopter that gained much of the event attendees’ attention! 

Most important was the presence of the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services “SAFE Trailer” — a camper-style trailer, equipped with special educational features, a non-hazardous “smoke” generator, like a simulator — that teaches young people how to escape an area accumulating with smoke. 

Sullivan explained that they are taught to crawl under the “smoke” where the air may be cleaner as they make their way to a door or window. He also added that “these are just a few of the features of this year’s event. So many other extremely important community organizations and businesses were also present and instrumental in making this year’s event an enormous success.”

First responders were not just there though, Malden High School’s Key Club was also there to help volunteer at the event. Malden High senior and Key Club President Allison Yu explained that Key Club members “had a lot of fun visiting each table to learn about public safety…” and felt “rewarding to expose Key Club members to events that they can learn from while also learning about it myself.” This was the first time that Key Club has volunteered at Public Safety Day, she noted.

Key Club members preparing and handing out food and drink at a free concession stand.

“One of the highlights of visiting each table was meeting a former [Malden] Teen Center member who is now a firefighter. It was cool to see someone who was once one of us in an occupation relating to public safety,” Allison said. 

An issue that Yu pointed out was that there “weren’t many bilingual [translations] or informational demonstrations from what I saw, which meant that a lot of Malden’s demographic, being very diverse, wasn’t reached with Public Safety Day.” Despite this, the event “attracted a lot of people and families [from] the upbeat music and interesting booths.” At times, the concession “tables were a bit hectic, [but] I saw that members felt good having that sense of cooperation and executing their roles,” Yu mentioned. “Overall, it was a great experience to be a part of [Public Safety Day].”

Sullivan finally noted that “this event was initiated, four years ago, by now retired Malden Fire Chief Kevin P. Finn (MHS – Class of ’83). It is an honor for me, also an MHS – Class of ’83 classmate of Chief Finn’s, to continue this event.” Malden’s 4th Public Safety Day was an overall hit, and the community cannot wait to see what they have in store for next year!

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