Firefighters bring prevention fun to Hopp’s Sno Shack

By Cheyenne Derksen Schroeder
McPherson Sentinel – June 26, 2017

Hopp’s Sound & Electric will be the hottest spot on the block June 29 — literally.

The McPherson Fire Department will host “Fireworks with a Fireman” from 4 to 10 p.m. June 29 as part of the Concerts for a Cause series at Hopp’s, located at 214 E. Euclid St. in McPherson. The event takes a step away from the weekly fundraising concert standard by offering a full slate of fire prevention activities and several live demonstrations.

“One of the most potentially hazardous times of the year is the Fourth of July. It has a unique potential because there’s a lot of youth involvement, so we want to get our fire prevention message out to the public right when a lot of kids are going to be messing with what are essentially explosive devices,” said TJ Wyssman, division chief with the McPherson Fire Department. “We know it’s going to happen, so we want to make sure those kids are lighting these fireworks safely and that no one gets hurt this year.”

The event is based off a similar demonstration held last fall, but with several new additions.

“The McPherson Fire Department and Jason Neighbors with Farm Bureau Insurance were looking for a way to spread fire safety and prevention in an interactive way with kids and families. I attended that event last year and instantly wanted to be a part of it. I love what the event was contributing to the community with smoke detectors and thought it fit in perfectly with the mission behind Concerts for a Cause,” said Brian Hopp, coordinator of Concerts for a Cause. “There is a ton going on that night. As our group got together, the ideas starting flowing, and it just got bigger and better.”

Activities include a giant bounce house, a dunk tank and concessions, like sno cones, popcorn and snacks from the Tacos Portales food truck. Those wearing swimming gear might try out the kid car wash, where children act as the cars getting “washed” under the sprinklers. Zach Batson, worship pastor at Journey Mennonite Church in McPherson, will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. for the music portion of the concert series.

The fire department will also offer demonstrations for young people in properly lighting fireworks, just in time for Independence Day.

“These fireworks are primarily made in China, they’re low quality and they’re stored in crates for a long time. When they get to the end user, they might not be a superior product,” Wyssman explained. “So following the directions, not holding roman candles, those basic things can prevent injury. We’ll also talk about why we’ve banned sky lanterns and metal sparklers, and we’ll talk about some of the basic stuff we respond to every year. When a kid lights a firework, we don’t want them to run with the punk because we see a lot of burn injuries on their faces and arms, so we’ll show them how to do it safely.”

Adults might want to check out the fire extinguisher demonstrations, where residents can practice using an extinguisher on a fire outside of an emergency situation.

“We’ll talk about maintenance, so you can use them when you need to, where to position them and we’ll also teach people how to use them so they understand that there’s not a lot of pressure behind them,” Wyssman said. “Fire extinguishers are meant to be egress aids, they’re not meant for you to stay inside the structure to fight the fire. A lot of people have their extinguishers placed by the exit, that’s not a wise decision because if you’re already at the exit, there’s no need to grab the extinguisher. Just get out of the building and let the fire department do their job. If they’re in core locations in the building, you can fight your way through the fire to get out of the building.”

Attendees can also watch a demonstration of how residential sprinkler systems can fight home fires on two, room-sized modules.

Proceeds from the event will go to the department’s fire prevention budget, which is privately funded. Wyssman explained that prevention measures, like installing and maintaining smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, are key for saving lives.

“We have about 4,000 fire deaths every year in America. We’ve been battling that number since the 1970s and it hasn’t come down a lot since then,” Wyssman said. “Because fires happen at night, you need those smoke detectors because only your hearing is alert when you’re sleeping so you need that sound to wake up and get out of the structure.”

The McPherson Fire Department’s smoke detector program works to get smoke detectors into the homes of families that cannot afford them, and also ensure all smoke detectors in McPherson are functioning properly.

“We want to make it overwhelmingly easy to get these installed. We support the fact that they do save lives when they’re installed and working properly, but we know that up to 50 percent of them out there are not installed properly or they don’t have functioning batteries,” Wyssman said. “The program gives away smoke detectors to people who can’t afford them, and we’ll come install them correctly and make sure they’re working properly. We’ll also help out the elderly or those who need help changing the batteries or are unsure on how they work. If you can afford them, but can’t hang them, call us and we’ll set something up.”

Fireworks with a Fireman schedule of events

4 to 9 p.m.: bounce house for kids, a dunk tank, and a kid car wash (bring a swimming suit to run through the “car” wash). Concessions include the Tacos Portales food truck, sno cones, and popcorn.

5 p.m.: fire extinguisher class

6 p.m.: smoke detector information

7 to 9 p.m.: Zach Batson will playing the music for Concerts for a Cause

7:30 p.m.: house fire sprinkler demonstration

8:30 p.m. Fireworks with a Fireman safety talk


Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
KSFFA’s Fire News Blog Home Page

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