Archive for Thursday, June 26, 2003

Safety fair firing up Saturday

June 26, 2003

Nearby residents are probably used to seeing area firefighters hosing down burning buildings or monitoring controlled burns in the countryside, but volunteer firefighter Sue Coleman is pretty sure they don't envision the other services Eudora Township firefighters provide.

Coleman is hoping Saturday's free safety fair will help get the word out about the other ways the department can help people living in the area.

"What better way than to have an open house?" Coleman said.

In addition to fighting fires, Coleman said the firefighters could check on elderly residents in their homes when temperatures went above 90 degrees.

"Most family members don't know the first signs of heat exhaustion," Coleman said.

Firefighters also offer home inspections whereby they run through a fire escape plan with members of the household as well as check the home for safety components.

"It's not designed to check on fire codes," Coleman said. "It's fire prevention done with the family."

Information on these and other programs will be available at the fair, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Eudora Township fire station, 310 E. 20th St.

Firefighters, police and other emergency personnel from Eudora and surrounding areas will be on hand, including Douglas County dispatchers, who can offer practical advice for people calling 911.

"If you call 911 and you know your address and number, you will get help," Coleman said. "But if you give landmarks (first responders) can get there faster."

The emergency workers will come with their vehicles, allowing children a close-up look at the equipment, including helicopter ambulances.

"It's really cool for the kids," Coleman said. "A lot of people haven't gotten to look inside one."

Because of the nature of the fair's participants, Coleman said their presence would hang in the air throughout the fair.

"Most of them are on call, so in an emergency situation they'll have to go," she said.

The fair will also include a video presentation about a burn victim's recovery, and a mock fire situation for children.

"Kids will be able to crawl through and know how firefighters crawl through a house," Coleman said. "It's a lot of fun for the kids."

The fire department will also have a limited number of smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to give away, as well as drawing for a fire extinguisher.

"We hope that everyone comes out," Coleman said.

The goal of the safety fair is two-fold, she said. In addition to educating adults and children about safety and the services firefighters provide, Coleman hopes the fair will help the township fire department recruit more volunteers.

"A lot of people don't realize this is the Township out here, and we need volunteers," Coleman said.

Applicants must live or work in the city of Eudora or Eudora Township, and they must be at least 18-years-old and have a good driving record. Moreover, volunteering as a firefighter has its responsibilities but isn't a full-time commitment.

"Most people work 40 hours a week," Coleman said.

Plus, the nature of the job often made it worth one's while, Coleman said, such as helping a farmer with a controlled burn that has gotten out of hand.

"Just the look on the farmer's face is reward enough," she said.

For more information about the safety fair or the volunteer firefighter application process, call the department at 542-2800 or Coleman at home at 542-8780.

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