Eagle Scout hopeful gives away dozens of smoke detectors

Contributed  Justin Brown, an Eagle Scout candidate, stands with 170 smoke detectors before his smoke detector giveaway Sunday at the Edmeston Volunteer Fire Department. 

An Edmeston teen gave out 74 free smoke detectors and hosted educational demonstrations Sunday at the Edmeston Volunteer Fire Department as part of his requirements to become an Eagle Scout

Focusing on fire prevention efforts was an easy choice, said Justin Brown, 17. Brown's father is the second assistant fire chief for the Edmeston Fire Department, so he grew up around fire service.

Brown said he purchased 112 of the 170 smoke detectors he secured for the giveaway from Kidde United Technologies. Donors for the giveaway included the Edmeston Volunteer Fire Department, Home Depot of Oneonta and New Hartford and NYCM Insurance. The Bishop Printshop of Edmeston provided posters and printed the education materials, he said.

Wards Off Fire, a local fire suppression business, had a fire extinguisher display at the event and the Otsego County Office of Emergency Services provided a kid-friendly digital fire extinguisher demonstration. There was also a variety of tools and firefighter gear available for people to view, Brown said.

After the giveaway, which Brown said he estimated 100-150 people attended, there were 96 leftover smoke detectors. Brown said these will be split evenly between the Edmeston Fire Department, West Edmeston Fire Department and the Second Baptist Community Cupboard.

To earn an Eagle Scout badge — the highest rank a scout can achieve — scouts are required to take on a project that benefits their community. Projects are also evaluated by leadership demonstrated by the candidate and there must be evidence of organized planning and development, according to Boy Scouts of America’s Scouting Magazine website.

Brown, who will attend Canisius College in the fall, said he organized the entire event himself. This included planning and hosting a fundraiser for the event, planning and hosting the event itself, writing business letters for donations, securing the space and providing refreshments.

Citing his experience with the Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Foundation and Boys State, hosted by the American Legion Department of New York, Brown said he's had many other leadership opportunities in high school. The Eagle Scout project, he said, helped him put those skills to the test and further develop his leadership skills. 

Shweta Karikehalli, staff writer, can be reached at skarikehalli@thedailystar.com or 607-441-7221. Follow her @DS_ShwetaK on Twitter.

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