It is never too early or too late to learn about fire safety.
On Saturday, October 5, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the fire stations of South Dundas opened their doors to the public, showing visitors what fire fighters do, how they are equipped and the vehicles they use to stop fires and rescue fire victims. The stations in both Morrisburg and Iroquois welcomed a steady stream of children, parents, grandparents and friends throughout the event.
The South Dundas open houses mark the start of 2013’s Fire Prevention Week, which runs from October 6-12.
Fire Prevention Week is designed to increase public awareness about the dangers of fire and to teach ways to protect families, homes and property from fire. The special theme of this year’s activities is focussed on preventing kitchen fires.
Accidents in the kitchen are among the most common causes of residential fires.
Deputy chief Marc St. Pierre, of the South Dundas Fire and Emergency Services, introduced visitors to the Morrisburg Fire Hall to the hazards of stoves and other fast heating objects common in most homes. “It’s not a bad thing to get kids used to stoves,” he said, “but adults must be there to supervise and teach at all times.”
Children in particular enjoyed games of “hot” and “cold” with local firefighters. They were invited to put objects like play toasters, play irons or ice cube trays on to red or blue mats indicating whether these objects could hurt, or start fires.
It may have been a game, but the objectives were serious: teaching little ones to stay away from appliances which can harm them.
There were free hand outs, colouring books and fire helmets for the young crowd.
Children visiting South Dundas fire halls also gathered around fire fighters like Morrisburg’s Chris Sachs or Iroquois’ Todd Tysick, to watch them put on all their distinctive protective gear, including tanks and masks.
“Many kids are really afraid in a fire,” Sachs explained. “The problem is that if they see a fire fighter in full gear come out of the smoke, they could be just as frightened of us: sometimes they will actually hide from us. That’s just what we don’t want them to do. We want them to recognize that we are friends and always come to us.”
“Part of our purpose today is to help educate the public,” said Iroquois fire fighter Justin Vanhecke.
Visitors could check out, and climb into, rescue equipment, pumper trucks and vans, including the pumper rescue vehicle recently added to the South Dundas fleet. Sounding sirens and testing smoke detectors were very popular with young visitors. Free barbecues at both local stations were served up by the volunteers.