Dave Acero has been a firefighter for 33 years and is known in the Phoenix area as "Fire Pal Dave." He has now retired to Clarkdale but that hasn't stopped him from serving as a fire educator.
Dave was named United Fire Firefighter of the Year in 2007, for his many accomplishments in public education. The prestigious award acknowledges actions of Arizonans who protect the people and property. The winner of the award also receives a complete new set of custom turnouts, pants and coat of a firefighter, valued at $1,200.
Dave donated his new set of turnouts to the Clarkdale Fire Department. He has also donated other items, including other protective clothing, rain jackets, public education materials and even new flashlights.
Acero decided to become a Clarkdale District volunteer in order to share his extensive experience and to continue his passion of teaching children how to be safe.
During his years as a firefighter in some rougher Phoenix neighborhoods, Dave witnessed many tragedies involving children. On some instances, it was already too late to save a child when Dave arrived on scene, but teaching prevention could make a difference. He volunteered at Camp Courage, a camp for children who suffered burns. He enhanced the "Learn Not to Burn" program to help students prepare for "Urban Survival." Dave organized annual parties at his fire station for disadvantaged families. He worked with schools and Head Start pre-schools to train instructors in "Community Risk Reduction."
On behalf of the Clarkdale Fire District, "Fire Pal Dave" will work with the Clarkdale-Jerome School to teach kids about smoke detectors, fire evacuation plans, wearing seatbelts, wearing helmets, gun safety, pool safety, pedestrian safety and fire safety. Dave develops age appropriate lessons and uses puppets, magic tricks, music and humor to keep student's attention.