County Comment: Home Chemical Safety Week and Poster Contest

CAPTION: Home Chemical Safety Poster Contest Winners (L-R) Thomas Bunce, Caroline Reinhart, Sara Hynen



County Comment
Home Chemical Safety Week and Poster Contest
By Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

In its regular meeting on April 20th the Washington County Board of County Commissioners issued a proclamation for Home Chemical Safety Week, and presented awards to winners of the annual Chemical Awareness Poster Contest for elementary school students.
Proclamations designating April 18-24 as Home Chemical Safety Week in the County and in the City of Hagerstown were presented by Commissioners' President John Barr and Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey.
For the past 14 years the Local Emergency Planning Committee has partnered with the Washington County Public Schools and area businesses to provide an educational program on home chemical safety to fourth grade students. The two-lesson program provides students with information on the definition of a chemical, how to read labels and develop safety rules for proper storage and handling of chemicals. The participants are given an opportunity to illustrate a particular chemical safety tip learned during the program in a poster contest.
The winners receive a gold medal and prizes from participating sponsors. All finalists receive a t-shirt and a silver medal. The County's Special Operations Team provides lunch for the finalists and a ride in their special operations truck for the winners. Approximately 20,000 students have been taught Home Chemical Safety since the start of the program.
Corporate and community sponsors include Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream, the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, Washington County Public Schools, Washington County Special Operations, the Washington County Local Emergency Planning Committee/Emergency Management Office/Division of Emergency Services and the Maryland Department of the Environment.
The 2010 First Place winner was Caroline Reinhart of Pleasant Valley Elementary School. The Second Place winner was Sara Hynen from Sharpsburg Elementary School. This year's Third Place winner was Thomas Bunce from Smithsburg Elementary School.
Public Service Announcements about the importance of chemical safety in the home began airing on local television and cable systems on Wednesday, April 21st.