Ziare Williams, 9, of St. Clair Shores, shoots a fire hose with the help of firefighter Jake Brazil during the 2018 fire open house.

Ziare Williams, 9, of St. Clair Shores, shoots a fire hose with the help of firefighter Jake Brazil during the 2018 fire open house.

File photo by Sarah Purlee


St. Clair Shores Fire Department welcomes residents with open house

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published September 30, 2019

 Firefighter Dan Hoard helps a child try on firefighter gear.

Firefighter Dan Hoard helps a child try on firefighter gear.

File photo by Sarah Purlee

Advertisement

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The smoke house experience, Sparky the fire dog and the chance to check out the Fire Department’s new quint ladder truck in person are just some of the reasons why hundreds flood the bays of St. Clair Shores’ Central Fire Station each year for the fire open house.

Set for noon-3 p.m. Oct. 6 at Central Fire Station, 26700 Harper Ave., this year’s open house will give residents a chance to learn about all that the Fire Department does throughout the year, while enjoying cider and doughnuts at the same time.

Firefighter-paramedic Scott Campbell said that it’s a great time for residents to “come see all the things your tax dollars pay for.”

A new ambulance and the new quint ladder truck will be on display.

Campbell said this year’s theme is “Not all heroes wear capes.” The point is not for children to think of the firefighters as heroes, he said, but to learn how they can be heroes themselves. Learning about the proper use of smoke detectors, fire escape plans and how to get safely out of a smoky building, and then teaching their friends and family what to do is a great way for the kids to feel like heroes themselves, he said.

“You don’t have to be a Marvel superhero to be a real hero,” Campbell said. “We want kids to feel like everyday heroes.”

No matter the weather, the open house is usually packed, he said. This year, he ordered 20 gallons of cider and 50 dozen doughnuts in an effort to have enough for everyone. Still, Campbell said that, if possible, it’s better to come early so that children can be assured of getting a kit with a coloring book, a hat if they wish and refreshments.

The open house event kicks off Fire Prevention Week in the city, which runs Oct. 6-12. During that time and throughout the month of October, the department will visit local schools and have local groups like the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts visit the fire station.

“We’re about fire prevention year-round, of course,” Fire Chief James Piper said.

Taking the time to teach children about fire safety during Fire Prevention Week helps to spread the word to everyone, he said.

“They’re the greatest ambassadors,” Piper said of children. “They get so fired up about it, go home to Mom and Dad (and say), ‘We need to have a fire escape plan, check the smoke detectors.’”

He said that he enjoys seeing their youthful enthusiasm.

“You never know what’s going to stick in their minds and make them safe in the future,” he said.

This year, the National Fire Protection Association is focusing on escape plans, encouraging families to think about and talk about what they would do in the event of a fire.

“There’s a high percentage of families that don’t talk about it; they don’t have a plan,” Piper said. “If you talk about it, even just that first conversation, starting to have a plan, it gets reinforced.

“You can turn it into a fun thing and practice it: Test your smoke detectors with the kids. We can fix a lot of the property and replace it, but we can’t replace the people.”

Advertisement