Fire prevention sparks interest
By Sue Ellen Ross Post-Tribune correspondent October 24, 2012 4:52PM
Dyer Fire Station firefighters demonstrate how they extract a person from a car using the Jaws of Life during the Fire Prevention Week open house held at Dyer's main fire station Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 24, 2012 4:56PM
Open houses during Fire Prevention Week usually have the goal of showing the public what firefighters deal with during their regular workday.
At the recent open house at the Dyer Fire Department’s main station, this goal was taken a step further when the station received a fire call shortly after the event began.
“I guess we’ll have to wait. It’s OK, they have to go,” said Christian Mason, 7, as he was waiting in line for his turn at a firetruck ride. “That’s what they do.”
The rides were halted as the station’s trucks responded to the call. But the rest of the morning activities went as planned, and the trucks eventually did return, to the delight of the dozens of children wanting to get a hands-on experience.
Firefighter Mark Golec manned the Simulation Station, which required youngsters to squirt water from a firehose toward various areas of a wooden house, where flames continued to travel from room to room. The target was a replica of a typical house, including upstairs rooms, an attached garage and other areas.
An image of a fire and flames was lit at different times, prompting the children to “put out the fire” wherever needed.
“We recently mapped out an escape plan for our family in case of a fire,” said Jenny Medlen of Dyer, as she watched her son Quincy Bell, 9, take his turn at the hose. “So this activity fits right in and puts it all together.”
“The firemen came to our school last week to teach us about fire safety,” the Bibich Elementary School student said. “It’s really important because you have to know how to get out. And there’s a lot of ways a fire can start — gas in the garage, matches and other things.”
Golec stressed the youngster’s last statement as he addressed the children.
“It’s imperative for everyone to know that fires don’t start only from candles and stoves,” he said. “There can be chemicals or gasoline in the garage, lightening strikes, electrical malfunctions and other situations that can lend themselves to the start of a house fire.”
Jerry Szymoniak from the Dyer Animal Control manned one of the tables set up for visitors.
“Many people aren’t aware of us,” he said as he passed out literature and talked with residents. “But we are a presence in the community; we have a pound housed near the public works building.”
Another item on the morning agenda was cancelled, due to the windy, rainy weather. The Lift Climb was put on the shelf.
One stop many parents made on their way out was the raffle table.
A large, detailed, multi-level wooden firehouse, with wooden trucks standing by, was the focus of the raffle.
“This will make a great Christmas present for my nephew; he’s really into firemen and what they do,” said Ian Martin of Hammond, as he decided how many tickets to buy. “You can’t find anything of this quality in the stores unless you pay a lot for it. Raffles are a great bargain.”