Newington Rotary Door Chocks Project 2017
November 6, 2017
For more information FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Newington Rotary Vice President
Newington Rotarians Donate Plastic Wedges That Are Chock Full of Uses
Newington Rotarians are always looking for different ways to help the community. Last year, during a monthly Board meeting, Rotarian Mal Murthy suggested an idea that he believed could prove to be a useful project for the club to undertake as a means for helping local firefighters.
With the help of his business partner, John Szugda, president of Bermer Precision Products of Southbridge, Massachusetts, Murthy arranged for the production of hundreds of door chocks, a personal pocket tool used by firefighters. According to Murthy, Szugda, who retired from the Southbridge Fire Department after 40 years as captain and head of the call firefighting force which responds to third alarms and medical calls, was also instrumental in the original design and development of plastic door chocks currently used by firefighters throughout the country.
“Door chocks, also known as wedges, are used by firefighters to prop open doors and prevent pinching hoses,” said Murthy. “In essence, it’s a tool designed for firefighters by firefighters.”
But firefighters know these plastic wedges are chock full of other uses. The wedge can be used on activated sprinkler heads to quickly and effectively stop the flow of water simply by wedging two of them together at opposing angles inside the sprinkler head. The wedge is also useful in opening windows of all types to allow firefighters to safely and securely hold windows in the open position to aid in ventilation and also allow a safe secondary egress option.
Fire Chiefs from Newington, Wethersfield and Rocky Hill were pleased to be part of the project and recently stopped by a Rotary meeting to take possession of the highly visible fluorescent-colored pink and orange door chocks that were manufactured for them. The chocks are marked with the inscription: “Newington Rotary Supports Our Firefighters!” Along with the door chocks, Rotary also provided the fire chiefs with print copies of instructional guidelines that can be useful when training new members of the firefighting team.
“A simple item such as a door wedge is in every firefighter’s coat pocket,” acknowledged Rocky Hill Fire Chief Michael Garrahy. “We use them and lose them daily.”
Newington Rotarians take pride in the type of projects we initiate and support to benefit the community, admits club president Mike Turgeon.
“Supporting ongoing local projects like the local Food Bank, college scholarships and youth leadership initiatives are vitally important, but we sometimes try to invest in more innovative ventures,” says Turgeon, noting that the club recently purchased seven webcams that were installed in the neonatal intensive care units at the Connecticut Children’s Hospital and UCONN Medical Center. Those cameras, which cost $17,500, today keep a 24-hour watchful eye on babies born prematurely and allow their relatives to dial up and see them at times when their jobs or other commitments make it impossible for them to be at the child’s bedside.
“Producing door chocks that will help firefighters and first responders do their jobs more effectively is that kind of a project that’s a bit out of the ordinary,” Turgeon adds.
Suggested Photo Caption:
Newington Rotary presented useful fire-fighting tools to officials of the tri-town fire departments.
From left, Rotary President Mike Turgeon; Rocky Hill Fire Chief Michael Garrahy; Wethersfield Fire Chief Rich Bailey; Newington Fire Chief Chris Schroeder; Rotarian Mal Murthy and club vice president Dave Tedeschi.