Open houses highlight week focused on prevention tips

Oct. 04, 2013 @ 05:56 PM

Fire safety events are a widening local tradition for the fall season for the national Fire Safety Week, which runs Sunday through next Saturday.

The Vance County Fire Department will host its first open house event today from 11 until 2, kicking off the area’s involvement. The Henderson Fire Department will host an open house Thursday.

The departments plan to attend and support both events as a way to double-down on getting out the message of fire prevention and the theme for 2013, “Prevent Kitchen Fires.”

Today’s event is at the 1735 Maynard Street station.

“This is our first fire prevention open house,” Williams said. “It will be in the field behind the fire station, in front of the Vance County Rescue Squad.

“We’re still going ahead with our open house. The fire was unfortunate, but it’s not going to keep us from providing services or holding the open house. We’re going to adapt and overcome.”

Williams was referring to a kitchen fire at the station, causing about $80,000 damage earlier in the week.

Williams, who also acts as the department’s education, safety and fire prevention officer, said fire prevention activities continue from the emphasis week through the year.

“In addition to other events, I go to all the schools in the county to spread awareness that way,” he said.

County and city fire departments can be counted on to demonstrate fire safety techniques at area schools during the fall, and Williams said volunteer departments help in that effort also.

The popular event format at Henderson Fire’s Station 1 located at 211 Dabney Drive is open to the public, with free food and drink, giveaways and demonstrations, plus fire trucks out on display for kids to see. Thursday’s event is from 5 to 8 p.m.

Both events offer food, fun, games and fire safety and prevention tips for all ages and opportunities to meet and talk with firefighters. Both events will also include “burn cell” demonstrations that this year will focus on kitchen fire dangers.

The opportunity to gather as many as possible to the events becomes a good launch point for Henderson Fire’s annual home inspection campaign that kicks off Oct. 14, according to Jon Juntunen, the department’s fire and life safety educator.

“Our open house wraps up National Fire Prevention Week, and is a good way to draw attention to the start-up of home inspections,” Juntunen said. “For the those, we’ll be going door-to-door to all the residential homes in Henderson.”

Henderson’s burn cell will be staged like a residential kitchen fire involving grease left unattended. Juntunen called it an opportunity to present specific dangers and how to avoid them.

“We do the live burn to show what can happen when we’re not careful,” Juntunen said.

Juntunen said the department’s safety campaign is year-around, and the door-to-door effort goes until all have been visited.

“We will install smoke alarms if they’re not working or if they’re 10 years old or older,” he said. “The campaign is a starting point, but we do safety inspections through the year. I’ll respond to calls, we’ll come out to do a fire safety inspection or just check on a smoke alarm that may not be working.”

Contact the writer at mfisher@hendersondispatch.com.