Group still spreading fire advice

Posted: Monday, July 15, 2002

Don't be alarmed if you happen to spot yellow-shirted young men and women prowling around your property this summer. They're here to help.

The Student Conservation Association's Fire Education Corps is doggedly canvassing the peninsula, trying everything it can to get the word out about fire danger and how to keep it to a minimum. On Thursday they gave a presentation before the North Peninsula Chamber of Commerce.

The idea behind making the pitch to a bunch of businesspeople and politicians was simply to continue informing the community that the group is here and willing to help, according to team member Nichole Dorr.

"It helps a lot to break the ice when people are aware of who you are. They're a little bit more open," Dorr said.

The 15-minute presentation outlined the group's mission, which is to educate people on how to maintain "fire-wise" dwellings. The presentation also discussed the group's day-to-day operations, which mainly consist of traveling to remote dwellings, canvassing neighborhoods and talking to people about fire risks. That's why they try to spread the word as much as they can.

"We're not going to go inside people's houses. Once people know who we are and what we're doing, we have been getting a really warm reception," she said.

Group member Heather Tomlins said there's one other big idea they want people to be made aware of about the program.

"We're willing to give people a hand, totally for free. People really love that word -- free," Tomlins said.

Once the word gets around about what the SCA group is up to, most people are friendly and courteous. However, some Nikiski-area residents are notoriously surly, hard to reach characters. This was pointed out by Sen. Jerry Ward, who was in attendance at the meeting.

"Run into any bears yet?" the senator asked.

"We've seen one bear so far, but it was a long way away," answered group member Casey McVey. "We love being in Alaska, but we're hoping not to run into any more bears out there."

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