Portraits 521

2012 Winner: Michael McLeieer
The Firemark Award for Community Service and Public Education
Merrimac Fire Department
Merrimac, MA – Announced May 22, 2014

Since becoming a member of the Merrimac Fire Department in 2000, Michael McLeieer has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to public education in his community and nationally. More than two decades ago, he founded the non-profit charitable organization E.S.C.A.P.E. (Education Showing Children and Adults Procedures for Evacuations), whose mission is to teach children and adults about fire prevention, CPR and first aid. In 2006, he was selected by the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Academy to train the nation’s fire service on developing effective public education campaigns about fire safety. Students who participated in McLeieer’s fire safety education program achieved a 98 percent success rate when tested on how to respond correctly to a fire. The importance of his course really rang true when a 4-year-old led his parents from their smoke-filled home the night after the child had participated in McLeieer’s class.

McLeieer has played a role in education on a state and national level. He is currently the Training and Scheduling Coordinator for the Massachusetts’s Firefighting Academy and is in charge of the Juvenile Fire Intervention program. Last year, the U.S. Fire Administration engaged McLeieer in a national public education webinar to share best practices for fire departments. He was one of 13 to present at the National Models on Fire Prevention symposium and was selected to present on Models of Fire Prevention Effective Community Risk Reduction before 30,000 firefighters at the Fire Department Instructors Conference and at the National Fire Protection Association International Conference. He also has worked to build a youth education program in 47 communities called No FIRES.

Merrimac Fire Chief Ralph W. Spencer could not be more proud of McLeieer’s accomplishments. He says the Merrimac Fire Department will allocate the funds toward enhancing public education, youth fire intervention and fire fighter safety initiatives. McLeieer is happy to hear he is being recognized for his actions.

“A big thanks to my fellow firefighters and to Liberty Mutual Insurance for this award,” said McLeieer. “I hope my story will inspire others to focus on the importance of fire safety education. I look forward to seeing how Merrimac will use the grant money to further my education initiatives.”