Bristol-Myers Squibb: Grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Provides Personal Escape Equipment to Pennington Fire Department
Grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb Provides Personal Escape Equipment to Pennington Fire Department
From left: John A. Welling III, chief of Emergency Services for Bristol-Myers Squibb; Brendan Montemarano, member of the Pennington Fire Company; and David Pinelli, chief of the Pennington Fire Company.
Device, Designed by FDNY, Lets Firefighters Quickly Escape Burning Buildings

PRINCETON, N.J., July 12, 2008 – The Pennington Fire Company will equip members with a new, personal safety device that lets firefighters make a quick escape from burning buildings, thanks to a $15,000 grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Members of the Fire Company underwent training today at the Mercer County Fire Academy in Lawrenceville in the use of the device, known as the Petzl EXO Personal Escape System. The equipment was developed by the New York City Fire Department in response to the deaths of two firefighters who became trapped in a burning building and fell while attempting to escape from a fourth-story window. Four other FDNY firefighters were seriously injured in the 2005 incident.

The grant by Bristol-Myers Squibb will enable the Pennington Fire Department to purchase 20 of the devices. The grant also paid for today’s training, a mandatory session that firefighters must complete before the department can purchase the equipment.

“Bristol-Myers Squibb takes pride in being a good corporate citizen to the world and a good neighbor at home,” said John A. Welling III, associate director of Environmental Health and Safety and chief of Emergency Services for Bristol Myers Squibb. “We’re pleased to put this life-saving equipment in the hands of the brave volunteers of the Pennington Fire Company who serve and protect communities that are home to two of our facilities and many of our employees.”

A global biopharmaceutical company committed to helping patients prevail over serious diseases, Bristol-Myers Squibb operates a facility located on Pennington-Rocky Hill Road in Hopewell Township, approximately two miles from the Pennington Fire Company.

The Pennington Fire Company also responds to fires in Lawrenceville, where another Bristol-Myers Squibb facility is located.

The device consists of a lightweight harness, a forged-steel anchoring hook that can penetrate brick, 50 feet of heat-resistant rope and a patented self-braking system that lets firefighters control their speed of descent as they rappel from a burning, multi-story structure. At today’s training, Pennington firefighters received classroom and field instruction on the proper way to anchor the hook, locate an exit and safely lower themselves to the ground.

“These systems are compact, lightweight and easy to carry – and they can save your life,” said Pennington Fire Company Chief David Pinelli. “I applaud Bristol-Myers Squibb for making it possible for the members of the Pennington Fire Company to obtain them. If they prevent even one injury, it will have been well worth it.”

Petzl, based in Crolles, France, introduced the EXO Personal Escape System in 2006 and has since sold approximately 14,500 in the United States and Canada, according to the company. Every year, Bristol-Myers Squibb supports numerous organizations through grant and charitable contributions programs designed to improve public health and strengthen the communities where its facilities are located its employees live.

Over the past five years, Bristol-Myers Squibb provided the Pennington Fire Company with grants totaling $57,000, including this most recent grant. The equipment purchased by these funds includes a fit-test machine that tests the fit and seal of firefighters’ masks and respirators, and two all-terrain vehicles.

Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical and related health care products company whose mission is to extend and enhance human life. Visit Bristol-Myers Squibb at

CONTACT: John Patella, Bristol-Myers Squibb, 609-598-0655


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