The Baton Rouge Fire Prevention Committee is proud to bring back the Firefighter Ball to Baton Rouge. We caught up with their co-chair Jeremy Gerald to get some details on the big return of the event.
How did you decide to put the ball on again?
The Baton Rouge Fire Department last held our firefighter’s ball in 1978. This event was originally designed as a fundraiser for local charities. This year marks 100 years since the formation of a professional fire service for the city of Baton Rouge. Prior to 1918, Baton Rouge was protected by a volunteer department. The Fire Prevention Committee partnered with the Robert A. Bogan Fire Museum to put on the Firefighter Ball to raise money for purchasing educational materials and to perform needed maintenance on the museum. The primary goal is to provide a better educational opportunity for the public about fire safety and the fire service.
What can guests expect out of the ball?
The firefighters ball will essentially be a dance with with the opportunity to meet and mingle with members of the fire service and their families. We will have a few remarks by the Baton Rouge Fire Department Chief Edwin Smith, and the Mayor-President of East Baton Rouge, Mayor Sharon Weston-Broome. The Drum and Pipe Corps will retire as we honor those fallen in the line of duty during the last year. Chris Leblanc will be providing the music for out attendees to dance away the evening. The price of tickets includes all of the food and drinks for the evening. This includes adult beverages.
Is this event mostly for fire fighters and their families or is it open to members of the community as well?
All our events we host each year are open to the public. We love having members of our community participate with us. All too often our men and women meet people on the worst days of their lives. When the dust settles and life is back to the new normal, whatever it may be now, the responders are vague images of people that came to help without asking for anything in return. The opportunity to say thank you to those exact people may not present themselves again.
We know that the ball benefits Fire Prevention Children Education, but what exactly is Fire Prevention Children Education?
Baton Rouge Fire Department performs many public education classes to schools, business and civic organizations for free. We provide literature, pamphlets and handouts to our classes, but when it comes to working with children, many of the handouts are above their heads. We have to use coloring books and activity books to get the message to them. These coloring books are given to every student we present a education class to. We also have activity books donated by McDonalds that we use for upper elementary school students.
The Fire Prevention Committee has developed the coloring books and has them printed for the Baton Rouge Fire Department. The brochures and bookmarks the firefighters give to children are also paid for by the Fire Prevention Committee. The goal of the Fire Prevention Committee is to purchase the necessary educational supplies for the Baton Rouge Fire Department.
One of the tools the Baton Rouge Fire Prevention Bureau uses is Patches the robot dog. Currently the department has 2 units, but one of them is nearly 15 years old and the other is 10. These are used to educate younger students 2-7 years of age. We know these units will eventually become harder to maintain, and will require to be replaced. We would like to be able to respond when the time comes to replace these robots, but they are $10,000 for the basic models.
Is there a way for people to donate to the cause if unable to attend the ball?
Donations can be made to the Baton Rouge Fire Prevention Committee. Please contact Jeremy Gerald at 225-354-1431 to make a donation.
The 2018 Firefighter Ball will be held on Friday, February 2nd at 7pm. Get your tickets now on our website!