What is the most innovative way to educate families about fire safety and prevention? Try Portland, Oregon’s Historic Belmont Safety Learning Center and Fire Museum, created in 2004 by Fire Inspector/Specialist Don Porth of Portland Fire and Rescue. With more than 27,000 visitors since launching, the Safety Learning Center and Fire Museum features an interactive fire engine ride, in which visitors buckle up in a real-life cab and look through the window as the vehicle responds to simulated emergencies.
On April 8, 2010, Liberty Mutual Insurance honored Don Porth for his part in creating the center and his 25-year dedication to protecting and educating local residents. In front of an audience of friends, family, and firefighters, Porth received the 2009 National Firemark Award for Public Education and Community Service and a $10,000 grant. Porth plans to use the grant to support the Jeff Morris Fire and Life Safety Foundation, a major partner in Portland Fire and Rescue’s efforts to provide fire safety education. You can find more information about the Jeff Morris Fire and Life Safety Foundation at http://www.jeffmorrisfoundation.org/.
Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award winners are chosen from a pool of nominees who received local awards from a Liberty Mutual office in their community throughout the year. Porth was honored locally in 2009, and was selected from more than 150 local winners for the national award.
“Don Porth is a perfect example of how to put out fires before they start, by inspiring families to think about safety and prevention through thoughtful teachings and high-tech exhibits,” said Kylie Tacheny, sales representative for Liberty Mutual’s Lake Oswego office. “We commend his approach and lifetime of service, and hope that our award and grant can help him reach even more Portland families in years to come.”
As part of the Liberty Mutual National Firemark Award, Porth will receive a trip to Liberty Mutual’s “Where’s the Fire?”TM attraction at INNOVENTIONS at Epcot® at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida. Also created in 2004 – and built with an educational mission akin to the Safety Learning Center – the attraction is the largest of its kind in the United States; a 4,000 square-foot exhibit designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in cooperation with Liberty Mutual's fire safety specialists and the U.S. Fire Administration.