Fire safety Advocate Baumer a Teacher at Heart

Minster 5th graders rally around former 6th grade teacher and Minster-Jackson Township firefighter Pat Baumer.
Staff Writer

Minster-Jackson Township veteran volunteer firefighter Pat Baumer was all smiles, as he usually is, on this day, Oct. 12. A special day in that he was presiding over the activities of Safety Day in the Minster School as he has for 25-plus years on his last official day as a firefighter with the Minster-Jackson Township Fire Dept. This day he stayed more off to the side but, make no mistake, he has been a guiding influence in the school safety program and community safety outreach over the years.

Baumer previously has recounted the genus of the safety program, “In the early ’90s, then-Chief Don Lampert wanted to give a program in the schools. In 1993 a committee was formed. Steve Wente who is now retired was in charge of that, which led to a K-8 program being started.” Safety videos were borrowed and copied from other fire departments  to be shown in the schools as a starting point.

The department learned as it went along. “As we continued we started getting some of our own videos, more up-to-date videos. We were teaching sixth graders how to use fire extinguishers. Then we found a curriculum for it that said never let anyone under 16 use one. Under 16, you get out. You don’t fight the fire, you get out.”

Now 25 years later the department has learned, adapted and adopted much that can be shared and learned about fire safety in various settings. Baumer says, “We’ve seen the actual number of fires go down over the years. We’d like to attribute that to the program.” He has noted that kids who have been exposed to the program over the years have now grown up and have taken the lessons learned from it with them. In high school the seniors are admonished with safety practices as they now move out on their own into dorm rooms and apartments. To him, it’s all been about teaching the children correct responses to situations to prepare them to respond in any kind of an emergency.

The fire safety programs Baumer helped to institute continue through the present day via educational efforts and programs offered by the department. Firefighter Kyle Wuebker now succeeds Baumer as the department’s spokesperson.

The former sixth grade teacher and firefighter recently completed a move with his wife Sharon to Noblesville, Ind. to be closer to his children and grandchildren. He also now plans to look around his new, adopted community for ways he can help make a difference. For Baumer it’s always been about “making our community a safer place to raise our children.”