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Virtual expo video educates kids on fire prevention, safety


Division 179 Council Leader John Buttino

PEF members from Division 179 worked with the Albany Fire Department, both in front of and behind the camera, to produce a segment on firefighting, fire prevention and fire safety for the Hannaford Kidz Virtual Expo.

Division 179 includes members from the Division of Homeland Security Office of Fire Prevention and Control and the Office of General Services Digital and Media Services.

“We’ve always participated in the kid’s expo at the Empire State Plaza,” Division 179 Council Leader John Buttino said. “This year, due to COVID restrictions, they took it virtual and released several different features over the last month.”

Buttino narrated the video in front of the camera with members of the Albany Fire Department, teaching youth about the hook and ladder truck; equipment firefighters use to fight fires, what they wear to keep them safe; and vital fire safety facts.

“It’s definitely very important to teach them to crawl low and go, escape smoke and fire, get out and stay out,” Buttino said. “Many times people aren’t aware they have seconds to get out of a burning building, not minutes. It’s the smoke and heat that kills, not the flames.”

Passion for their work and the people they serve led PEF Division 179 to ramp up its virtual presence since COVID-19 shut down the state last year.

“Preventing the fire in the first place is the number one priority,” Buttino said. “That’s the number one tool we communicate to state agencies and the public. Cooking is the number one cause in home fire deaths. The number one place people are killed in a fire is at home. People feel that they are safe at home, when in all reality the risk of dying of fire is greatest at home.

“What we do as public employees truly transcends the workplace and it’s a passion that is with most PEF members when they are on and off the clock,” he said. “It’s something that is in your heart and you believe in. For many of the folks in our agency and office, there is a deep-rooted passion for our work.”