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Robot dog to teach kids at fire museum

The Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center in Uniondale received a $20,000 grant earlier this month from Sterling & Sterling Insurance, based in Woodbury, and from Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company for the purchase of a new high-tech educational robot dog.

The talking Dalmatian robot rides on a miniature fire truck and is remotely operated, allowing him to speak, listen and interact with children to teach them important fire safety lessons, like ‘stop, drop and roll’ and how to recognize the sound of a smoke detector.

“We believe in fire safety education and this grant will help expand our ability to communicate those important messages to children,” Alana Petrocelli, executive director of the museum, said in a statement.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, among children age 14 and under, an estimated 2,800 are injured and 850 are killed each year in residential fires nationwide. Of these children, more than 40 percent are under the age of 5 and 70 percent are under 10.

“The robotic dog will play a critical role in ensuring the right fire safety messages get to our kids,” David Sterling, CEO of Sterling & Sterling, said in a statement.

A lawsuit against Sterling & Sterling filed in October by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for alleged racial and sexual discrimination is still pending, said acting supervisory trial attorney Raechel L. Adams of the EEOC. The suit alleges African-American sales representative Rochelle Legette, who had worked at Sterling since March 2007, was fired in March 2010 after she filed a complaint with the EEOC.

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