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Fire Department open house to teach home escape heroics

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published September 20, 2019


STERLING HEIGHTS — Sterling Heights residents who want to learn about how heroes work — as well as how to prepare heroic escapes in their own homes — can attend an upcoming Sterling Heights Fire Department open house.

The department is opening the doors of Fire Station No. 4 to invite the public to its annual open house Oct. 6.

Fire Sgt. Mike Amormino said the open house is probably the Fire Department’s biggest event, producing a turnout of thousands of residents and community members in past years.

Family-friendly sights and activities include fire vehicles, clowns and refreshments. Amormino said the event offers doughnuts and face painting, as well as a rare opportunity for people “to see what we do and to look at all our stuff.”

“This is just like a chance for us to showcase who we are, what we do, and people are always really receptive of that, and kids love it,” Amormino said. “We’ll have a tour of the station. We show off the trucks. Kids spray water — they get to act like a firefighter for a little bit.”

Fire Chief Chris Martin said the event allows the public to see the rescue equipment that taxpayer money buys.

Visitors can learn about how the Fire Department puts out fires and saves lives. Besides the fire station tour, attendees usually also get the chance to see rescuers perform a vehicle extrication demonstration, he said.

“We set up some stuff for kids to play with. They can jump on a fire truck. They can squirt a fire hose,” Martin explained. “Kids get to try on fire gear.”

Attendees can also find out how to better safeguard their homes and loved ones against disasters. Martin said the Fire Department regularly reminds the public to install smoke detectors and to check them to make sure they are working properly.

Martin also said the department tries to make its annual open house coincide with Fire Prevention Week, which is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association. This year, Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6-12, and the 2019 theme is “Not Every Hero Wears a Cape: Plan and Practice Your Escape.”

Martin said the theme underscores the importance of creating an emergency exit plan in case a fire breaks out at home. That’s because house fires don’t behave like they do on TV or in the movies.

“They create toxic smoke very fast, and you need to know how to get out of your home at a moment’s notice,” he said. “Have two ways out, and practice that plan with your family. And have a meeting place.”

During the Sept. 17 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, City Manager Mark Vanderpool thanked the Fire Department and other community members for making the open house possible.

“I want to thank the city’s fire union, Local 1557, and local businesses that are donating time, goods and services to continue this popular event,” he said. “I also want to thank the firemen and paramedics that will be on-site, because they’re donating their time.”

Vanderpool added that the Fire Department will hold its Fire Department Awards Night at 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at Sterling Heights City Hall, and the public is welcome to attend.

The Fire Department will hold its annual open house 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 6 at Fire Station No. 4, located at 12850 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights.

Find out more about the events by calling (586) 446-2950. To learn more about the National Fire Protection Association, visit