Plandome Junior Firefighter Lucas Maley saw an opportunity to improve upon the cardboard maps being used by the fire department to find hydrants on route to a call. He created an app-based hydrant map available for free to all members of the department.
“The old maps were hard to read, especially at night, and they didn’t show some of the newer hydrants,” Maley said.
Now a junior at Manhasset High School, Maley joined Plandome Junior Firefighters as a freshman. Under the leadership of seasoned firefighter Matt Temares, who runs the PFD’s Juniors program, Junior Firefighters learn basic firefighting skills such as search and rescue, hose operation and ladders. Evening meetings include pizza and socializing after the training drills.
“There are about 100 hydrants in the Village of Plandome, so it took a while to confirm the locations of all the hydrants, especially since I didn’t have my drivers license yet,” Maley said. “Some of the hydrants were hidden in the bushes. A lot of them were in new developments and didn’t exist when the old maps were printed.”
Now every member of the department can view updated hydrant locations using their smartphone, easily visible at night. They can get driving directions to the location, see nearby hydrants, and view detailed pre-plan instructions for fighting fires at larger houses and commercial properties. One member of the department, Brad Coppens, said the new map is “so slick and the best way to get useful information” during a fire call.
In response to interest from other fire departments, Maley has created a website, www.mapmyhydrants.com, with detailed instructions on creating an app-based hydrant map.
“I am also happy to work with any departments that need help,” he offered.
“The Junior Firefighters program is a great way for high school kids to get involved in the community while learning firefighting skills,” Tom Carroll, Chief of the Plandome Fire Department, said. Lucas has been in the program for several years, saw a real need, and came up with a clever solution that works.”
Junior Firefighters also have the opportunity to participate in Camp Fahrenheit, a five-day intensive training camp for high school students hosted by the Nassau County Fire Service Academy that includes courses such as forcible entry, second story bailouts, and live car and warehouse fires. This summer, a handful of Nassau County Junior Firefighters, including Maley, are traveling to Germany on a first-ever exchange program to train with junior firefighters in a fire department outside Hamburg.
Boys and girls aged 14-17 interested in joining the Plandome Junior Firefighters program should contact Matt Temares at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
—Submitted by the Plandome Fire Department