Fire Department opens doors to fort community

By Katie Peterson
Ft. Leavenworth Lamp – October 19, 2018

Families look at fire trucks parked outside Fire Station No. 2 during the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department open house Oct. 10. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Fire Lt. Dan Doyle tells 3-year-old Stuart Gallagher, joined by his mother Caitlin Gallagher and 7-month-old sister Sally Jo Gallagher, about equipment used in water rescue during the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department open house Oct. 10 at Fire Station No. 2. Doyle also showed Stuart equipment on the brush truck and explained how it is used to fight fires. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Fire Capt. Jimmy Herken and Firefighter Rennell Pitts serve hamburgers and hotdogs at the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department open house Oct. 10 at Fire Station No. 2. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

Three-year-old Kennedy Turner tosses a bean bag through a fiery door while playing a game to put out a pretend house fire during the Fort Leavenworth Fire Department open house Oct. 10 at Fire Station No. 2. Photo by Prudence Siebert/Fort Leavenworth Lamp

In recognition of Fire Prevention Week, Fort Leavenworth Fire and Emergency Services hosted its annual open house for children and families Oct. 10 at Fire Station No. 2.

Since 1925, Fire Prevention Week has been observed the week of Oct. 9, Sunday through Saturday, coinciding with the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which burned Oct. 8-10, 1871.

“(The Great Chicago Fire) actually started the push for fire codes and life safety codes,” said Fire Prevention Chief Dean Turner. “As every year goes by, codes are updated and fires are getting to be farther and fewer between now because of the strict codes and materials being made up.”

The open house included food provided by the Commissary, drinks provided by Fort Leavenworth Frontier Heritage Communities, a raffle, door prizes, videos, a fire safety trailer and an opportunity to see the fire trucks, a rescue boat, uniforms, equipment and tools used by the firefighters in all types of emergency response scenarios.

New open house features included a bean bag toss where children could throw bean bags at fake fire to “put it out” and cardboard cutouts of firefighters and a fire truck, with which children could pose for pictures.

“It is a good event for people to just come down here and see the fire trucks and the firefighters,” Turner said. “It is a big thing to be able to show people what we have and what our capabilities are, so that they understand if they have any issues, we’re here and we can help them with whatever emergencies they have. It lets them have a good, confident feeling that we’re here to respond and take care of their needs.”

Also included was a stove display with representation of the three-foot “no kid zone.”

“Unattended cooking is the No. 1 cause of home fires,” Turner said.

Batteries in smoke detectors should be replaced every six months, he said.

The 2018 theme for Fire Prevention Week is “Look. Listen. Learn.”

“Fire can start anywhere. You always want to look around your house, look around where you work at and look for areas that fire can start and identify those hazards,” Turner said.

“Listen for the sound for the smoke detector and learn as much as you can about fire safety. The fire department is here to help people learn and keep emphasizing fire safety to everybody.”

Throughout the week, the fire department also hosted children in kindergarten through second grade from the post elementary schools and the Osage Child Development Center, as well as visited the pre-kindergarten students. During those visits, children crawled through smoke tunnels; practiced stop, drop and roll; watched firefighters don their gear; and watched a fire safety video featuring characters Timon and Pumbaa.

“You’ve got to start teaching the kids young,” Turner said. “(Give them fire safety information) every year so they develop their minds for fire safety.”

Amanda Gilbert, who brought her four children to the open house, said the event was fun.

“It makes it fun while giving pertinent information,” Gilbert said. “We were just talking about what to do in case of emergency and you start young so that it just becomes natural.”

Ashley Hilty, who attended with her three boys, said she likes how the event allows children to meet firefighters.

“It gives them a good perspective of fire vehicles and what the things do,” Hilty said. “It opens their eyes to what the future possibly holds and how we have lots of community helpers. The community helper aspect is great for them to learn.”

Deana Hidalgo, who attended with her two sons for the second time, said it is important to prepare them in case of an emergency.

“They are aware of the dangers and then they don’t panic if it happens in the house,” she said. “If it does actually happen, they’re familiar with the procedures and what they need to do and they’re not so fearful of the firefighters. If they’re familiar with it, then they’ll be prepared.”

Turner said learning about fire prevention isn’t limited to the week.

“Families can come here anytime if they have questions,” Turner said. “This is a yearlong continuous process of teaching fire safety.”

 

Posted by Gwen Dorr Romine, KSFFA Webmaster
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