County Comment: Home Chemical Safety Week Proclaimed

County Comment
Home Chemical Safety Week Proclaimed
by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

In the regular meeting of the Washington County Board of County Commissioners on March 28, Home Chemical Safety Week was proclaimed, and winners of the 2006 Chemical Safety Poster Contest were announced.
Emergency Management Administrator Verna Brown and Fire and Emergency Services Director John Latimer brought this annual event, marking Home Chemical Safety efforts in the County, to the Board.
A Proclamation by Commissioners' President Greg Snook and Hagerstown Mayor Bob Bruchey designated March 26 through April 1 Home Chemical Safety Week in the County and in the City of Hagerstown.
For the past 6 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 information on the definition of a chemical, how to read labels and develops 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 including book bags, U.S. Savings Bonds and gift cards. All finalists receive a T-shirt and silver medal. The County's Special Operations Team provides lunch for the finalists and a ride in a fire truck for the winners.
Approximately 6,000 students have been taught Home Chemical Safety since the start of the program.
Corporate and community sponsors include Good Humor Breyers Ice Cream, Ewing Oil, Shawley's Gas, BJ's Custom Embroidery, the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, Washington County Public Schools, Leitersburg Ladies Auxiliary, and Western Enterprise Ladies Auxiliary, Washington County Special Operations, Washington County Emergency Management.
This year's Third Place winner is Stephanie Gonzalez from Emma K. Doub Elementary, who receives a Gold Medal, a $50 Gift Certificate from Toys R Us, and a $50 Savings Bond.
The Second Place winner is Keirsten Kline from Hancock Elementary, who also receives a Gold Medal, a $50 Gift Certificate from Toys R Us and a $50 Savings Bond.
The 2006 First Place winner is Kelly Schmidt from Potomac Heights Elementary, who receives a Gold Medal, a $100 Gift Certificate from Circuit City, and a $100 Savings Bond.
The winners' schools, Emma K. Doug, Hancock, and Potomac Heights Elementaries will receive a pizza party for all fourth graders. All students who participated in the program will receive an ice cream treat from Good Humor/Breyers, and all 14 finalists received a McDonalds Lunch provided by Special Operations.