Visit the Fire Dept. during Open House

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 28, 2012

Fire safety knows no season, but the St. Clair Shores Fire Department takes time out each October to make sure residents remember the basics.

This year is no different — the department will hold its Open House at Central Fire Station, 26700 Harper Ave., from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 7. Fire Chief George Morehouse said the Open House kicks off Fire Safety Week, when the department will visit local schools or welcome students for tours.

“There is unlimited amount of data and information that shows that by educating our children about fire safety, believe it or not, they take it home and train and teach their parents about fire safety,” Morehouse said. “It’s a win-win.”

This year, Morehouse said the National Fire Protection Association’s message is to have two ways out of your home in case of a fire.

“You could be at the back of your home, and there could be a fire at the front of your home,” he said. “You don’t want to have to run through the fire to get out.”

And he said, in addition to having a designated spot for children to meet their parents outside, those living in a two-story house should have discussions about where the children will try to be if they are upstairs.

“What window are you going to be at where your family members know to look for you, to tell us to look for you, to get you down off a ladder?” Morehouse said. 

He said it’s important for the department to take time to educate the community on fire safety in order to prevent injuries and loss of life or property whenever possible.

The event is open to everyone and is free to attend.

“It’s good for all ages,” Morehouse said. “We do things to demonstrate that we’re good guys, and we’re not there to hurt you. Kids are scared when you put on that fire gear and you put on that mask, so we try to take that fear away from them by letting them see who we really are and that we’re nice people.”

Sparky the Fire Dog will be on hand, as will Scooter, a robotic fire hydrant that can drive around the station and talk with children about fire safety.

“It’s a good educational tool for everybody,” said Fire Marshal M. Bodnar. “Unfortunately, in fire prevention areas, some people may forget or get complacent about some safety issues that just need to be revisited.”

She said the department’s Smokehouse will also be open for children to learn how to make their way through fake smoke, staying low to the ground and remembering to feel doors for heat before proceeding through.

“If it happens in a real life situation, hopefully, they’ve experienced this in a kind of practice situation, and hopefully, they won’t panic,” she said.

The department’s vehicles, including an ambulance, will also be on display. Firefighters Union No. 1744 will provide refreshments for the afternoon.