Indianapolis Firefighters partner with Citizens Energy Group in “Badges for Burn Camp” Hydrant project
Project gives back to burn survivors and community
The Indianapolis Fire Department once again teamed up with Citizens Energy Group to paint the town teal and raise money for a good cause. IFD Recruits from class 86 spent this morning, Saturday May 15, cleaning and re-painting Citizens-owned hydrants in the IFD Service District. Assistance was provided by several Citizens’ employees in the Water Distribution area under the supervision of Paul Dicken, Citizens’ Director of Water Distribution.
The event dubbed “Badges for Burn Camp” is part of an initiative for IFD Recruit Firefighters to engage in a community service project beyond their commitment to serve. Chief Ernest Malone, states, “Taking an oath to serve – not only includes firefighting and EMS duties but also giving back to the citizen’s we serve with time and talent. We strive to reinforce this culture of service early in a firefighters career and encourage all of our members to continue this outreach during their time on the job.”
The day began at 8:00 am with the staging area at IFD Headquarters located at 955 Ft. Wayne Ave. Citizens provided all of the paint, brushes and supplies needed from their current inventory and comes at no cost to either the department, taxpayers or customers. Citizens identified 300 hydrants for today’s event. The 55 member class was divided into 26 teams and assigned pre-selected hydrants to complete. Several of the teams were joined along the way by Chief Malone who stepped up to help. The day ended at 12:00 noon.
“Badges for Burn Camp” raises money to send burn survivors to Hoosier Burn Camp. This is the 6th hydrant painting event since the inaugural occurred in 2015 with 2020 COVID restrictions putting last year’s event on pause. The first 5, have raised close to $40,000, which has since been donated to Hoosier Burn Camp, on behalf of IFD, through the Citizens Energy partnership. It is unclear yet, how much this year’s donation will be for the IFD recruits efforts.
The 2021 camp is slated for May 23rd to June 4th at Camp Tecumseh (12365 W Tecumseh Bend Rd, Brookston, IN 47920) More information can be found here: http://hoosierburncamp.org/calendar/23rd-annual-hoosier-burn-camp-summer-camp/
The idea for the project came after a casual conversation about hydrants, their specific paint/color and how they are maintained. Citizens maintains over 37,000 hydrants in and around Marion County and while the hydrants are tested annually, the painting of the hydrants, typically occurs on a 7-year rotation. While Citizens is responsible for hydrant painting as part of that maintenance service, they often outsource some of the painting duty for about 4,000 of the hydrants to a local company. The aquamarine color on the hydrants made its first appearance in 1967 – when they were changed from yellow. The money raised comes from the money already allocated to the outsourced hydrants and is made in the form of a donation to “Hoosier Burn Camp.”
“We are excited about the opportunity to provide IFD with a fundraising mechanism that will ultimately pay the way for a child to attend Hoosier Burn Camp said Jeff Willman,” Citizens Vice President of Water Operations. “At Citizens, we know the importance of home heating safety and fire prevention. That is why it’s imperative that we make sure our hydrants are working properly and highly visible so firefighters can do their jobs effectively.”
The question was asked if IFD firefighters could paint hydrants and raise money for a local charity. Citizens whole-heartedly agreed and the plan was formulated. IFD and Citizens have enjoyed a long-standing partnership and vested interest in optimally-maintained hydrants. A life safety necessity for both IFD firefighters responding to a fire and the community we serve. This project is an opportunity for firefighters to get close up and personal look the hydrants outside of an emergency situation, their color marking system, the components that make up a working hydrant and offers the opportunity to give back. Hydrant Specialist Crews from Citizens worked alongside the firefighters and took the opportunity to check and address any questions or issues they found during the event.
About Hoosier Burn Camp
First conceived by the office of the Indiana State Fire Marshal and Riley Hospital for Children, Hoosier Burn Camp was founded in 1997 to extend physical and mental rehabilitation opportunities to severe burn survivors in Indiana ages 8 to 18. Our programs were developed to combine the fun of summer camp with opportunities to build life skills that kids need to fully recover from the trauma of their burn injuries. Since 1997, we have grown to provide 12-15 programs throughout the year to burn survivors from infancy through young adulthood. Many of these programs support the entire family as well. Many of our campers are referred to Hoosier Burn Camp through our partnerships with Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, but our programs are open to any young Hoosier who has experienced a burn injury or has been treated for burns requiring hospitalization in our state. In the first 15 years, our camp programs had positively impacted the lives of 250 young campers and thousands of their family members and loved ones. Camp Saturday Burn Camp merged with Hoosier Burn Camp in 2016.
-Submitted by Rita L Reith, MPIO