Domtar’s donation will be used to replace the KFD’s robotic dog, Sparky the Fire Dog®. Considered to be the best-known figure in fire safety education across the country, Sparky the Fire Dog is an interactive tool for teaching fire and safety awareness.
Domtar officials presented the contribution to the KFD Friday afternoon at Fire Station 1, located at 130 Island Street, during a ceremony attended by Kingsport Mayor John Clark and representatives of the city’s board of mayor and aldermen.
Throughout 2016, the mill is commemorating its milestone anniversary with local activities and events that reinforce the mill’s long-standing dedication to the Kingsport community.
“While there have been a few emergency calls to our mill during our 100-year history, I am pleased to say that much of our relationship with the Kingsport Fire Department has been built on the life-safety educational programs they provide to the mill staff,” says Bill MacPherson, Kingsport mill manager. “Whether it is corporate seminars or fire extinguisher training, the Kingsport Fire Department is always available to assist us in making the Kingsport mill a safe environment for our employees and the community.”
The KFD purchased Sparky nearly 10 years ago via funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program. Operated by remote control, Sparky has become an integral part of the department’s fire safety education program. With his moving eyes and conversational skills, Sparky communicates with kids on their level as he drives a mini fire truck, often using the emergency lights and siren.
Immensely popular with Kingsport-area children, Sparky has started to show his age.
“Kids love to hug Sparky and have their photo taken with him,” says Barry Brickey, KFD public information officer. “I use him not only to get the kids’ attention during safety presentations, but also to reinforce the fire prevention messages I am teaching. He totally enthralls most children and makes for a fantastic teaching tool.”
Each year, Sparky accompanies Brickey on visits to Kingsport City Schools and Sullivan County Schools, several Head Start programs, and numerous community events to spread the message of fire safety and prevention. He is also used during the many field trips scheduled at the KFD throughout the school year.
Sparky is so well-known in the community that the KFD sees a steady stream of visitors who stop by just to see him.
“Sparky plays an important role in educating the Kingsport community about fire safety,” Clark says. “Funding for projects like this, however, can be challenging, and we are grateful to Domtar for providing this much-needed contribution. Our city is honored to have a forward-thinking partner like Domtar that truly understands the importance of safety education, and continually strives to make a positive impact on the community it serves.”
Domtar is a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products, including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products. With approximately 9,800 employees serving more than 50 countries around the world, Domtar is driven by a commitment to turn sustainable wood fiber into useful products that people rely on every day. Domtar’s annual sales are approximately $5.6 billion and its common stock is traded on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. Domtar’s principal executive office is in Fort Mill, South Carolina. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.
For more information, contact Kezia Murphy,
human resource advisor at Domtar’s Kingsport mill,