The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) will honor former Oceanside Fire Department Chief Edward Scharfberg with its Fire Safety Educator of The Year Award. The award will be presented on Monday, July 19, at the Oceanside Fire Department Headquarters during the Fire Council’s monthly meeting.
“Edward Scharfberg is a great example of a true leader in the fire service,” said President John P. Farrell, FASNY President, “Educating the public, especially children, about fire safety and prevention will not only help keep our communities safe, but possibly entice students to become the next generation of volunteer firefighters. We are proud to announce him as this year’s Fire Safety Educator of the Year.”
Scharfberg started teaching fire safety to elementary school students back in 1981. By 1985, he was writing fire safety and prevention articles for several local newspapers. In the 1990s, Scharfberg started working with the Oceanside School District and developed a successful fire prevention and safety program that became a permanent course throughout the school year. The program was later expanded to the district’s summer school program and included staff and PTA members.
After a kitchen fire in his neighborhood in 2009, which occurred when a 13-year-old was cooking and left a frying pan unattended, Scharfberg began researching unattended cooking fires. As a result of this particular fire, Scharfberg stepped up and developed a program for middle school students regarding cooking fires, appliance safety and home fire prevention. Every year since, he and members of the Oceanside Fire Department have instructed approximately 900 middle school students on this important subject. Because of the success of this program, in September of 2009, Scharfberg was elected to the Oceanside High School Site-Based Committee. Shortly after, he was appointed to the school district’s Buildings and Grounds Committee, Safety Committee and the Department of Community Activities Committee.
For 40 years, Scharfberg has instructed numerous community organizations including the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, Boy and Girl Scouts and local senior citizens groups. Each year, Scharfberg and members of the Oceanside Fire Department reach an average 2,500 Oceanside residents regarding fire prevention and safety.
“Chief Scharfberg has always preached fire prevention and fire safety and the results speak for themselves,” said Captain Mark R. Sparberg, Oceanside Fire Department. “The Oceanside Fire Department’s fire loss is now at historic lows thanks to his passion and tenacity for this important subject.”
Founded in 1872, the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY) represents the interests of the more than 85,000 volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel in New York State. For more information, visit www.fasny.com.