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Firefighters in Sandy join campaign to extinguish underage drinking

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Posted at 9:58 PM, Jul 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-02 23:58:00-04

SANDY, Utah -- Sandy City firefighters are battling more than just blazes, they’re also working to keep underage kids from drinking alcohol.

The department has teamed up with ParentsEmpowered.org in a campaign aimed at giving parents the tools they need to keep their kids sober.

The anti-drinking campaign was kicked off at the Sandy Fire Station because firefighters say they would sooner prevent a fire than respond to one.

"When you give or allow access to alcohol to a person underage, you are starting, in effect, a fire in their brain, which they may not, and many of them cannot, control,” said Mike Brown of ParentsEmpwoered.org.

Firetrucks and ambulances in Sandy are sporting signs that say parents are the first response team against underage drinking.

Another sign encourages parents to get involved before their kids get burned. Sandy’s Fire Chief says he's noticed a big difference between social drinking and underage drinking.

“Underage drinking is not like an adult having a drink after work to relax, underage drinking is to get drunk, they want to get drunk, they want to feel good, it's not about just a little social drink, they are drinking to get drunk,” Chief Bruce Cline said.

Firefighters and paramedics know about the dangers of underage drinking first-hand.

"We do go on quite a few calls for kids and teenagers that are drinking and way drunk, and it's sad to see, and it affects families, it's really hard to see the families," said Capt. Rick Hofheins of Sandy Fire.

Hofheins appears in one of a series of new TV spots that focus on eliminating underage drinking in Utah. Nicole Martin with R&R Partners said preventing underage drinking is a worthy goal.

"There's nothing more important than the kids in our community, and Parents Empowered is providing really valuable tools that are available for parents,” she said.

Visit ParentsEmpowered.org for more tools and information regarding preventing underage drinking.