Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department was delighted to hear of the presenting of the John C. Spiker, Sr. Excellence in Life Safety Educator of the Year Award presented to Dr. Burton Clark on September 28, 2021 during the Mid-Atlantic Life Safety Conference.
Dr. Clark, when presented with the award, spoke about the fact that the Maryland Fire Service had contributed to fire safety worldwide. Dr. Clark started in the fire service in 1970. He knew there had to be a better way to fight fires, and to prevent fires. He began working at the Laurel VFD in 1974 and went to three fires where they had seven fatalities before they had even arrived at the house. He knew there had to be a better way. With the advance of smoke detectors, fire deaths were reduced by 55%. Laurel was the first VFD that started a massive campaign to put smoke detectors in homes. In 1975, Dr. Clark received the Silver Spring Trophy for Fire Prevention for his work at the Laurel VFD. It was the first award that Dr. Clark received. And as Dr. Clark knows, we are always working to learn a better way to save the lives of civilians and firefighters.