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‘Open House at the Fire House’ next Saturday

By Staff | Oct 2, 2010

Cape Coral residents are encouraged to stop by their neighborhood fire station Saturday, Oct. 9, to meet the firefighters and take a tour of the facility.
The fire department is hosting “Open House at the Fire House” at all 10 stations from 9 a.m.-noon in recognition of National Fire Prevention Week. National Fire Prevention Week runs Oct. 3-9, and the theme this year is: “Smoke Alarms: A sound you can live with.”
“National Fire Prevention Week focuses on promoting fire safety and prevention throughout the year,” Fire Chief Bill Van Helden said in a prepared statement. “We encourage our residents to stop by one of our fire stations to meet the men and women who work every day to protect them and their families.”
On Saturday, residents can take a tour of each station and learn about the equipment used by firefighters and what a firefighter’s job entails. There will be chances for adults and children to climb inside a fire truck, so families are welcome to attend. Visitors will be allowed to take photographs if they wish.
“We want to show them around our living quarters, and discuss different skills and technologies firefighters are trained in,” Dave Webster, a public education specialist with the fire department, said. “Explain why different stations are located where they are.”
It is a chance for residents to meet their neighborhood firefighters in a non-emergency setting, which is rare, plus there is no overtime involved because the firefighters at each station will be those who are on duty for that shift.
“It’s a great opportunity for our firefighters to speak with neighbors one-on-one and not in an emergency situation,” Webster said.
A CERT volunteer will be stationed at each facility to maintain order and security in case any emergency calls come in and the firefighters leave.
As far back as he could recall, Webster said this is the first open house conducted by the departments.
“We feel a disconnect between the fire department and the public because of the lock down that was really required after 9/11,” he said. “We realize now that our lights have to go on and we want to reconnect with the citizens, and we especially want to reinstitute a feeling of neighborhood fire stations.”
During Saturday’s event, there will be literature available at each fire station for National Fire Prevention Week, including handouts and kids coloring books.
In 2009, there were 3,010 civilians who lost their lives in fires, and 86 percent of those deaths occurred in a residence, officials reported. About two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Most of the fires occur at night while people sleep.
“Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms are considered to be one of the best and least expensive means of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire,” Van Helden said.
Officials reported that properly installed smoke detectors could reduce the rick of dying from a fire in a home by almost half.