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Posted by on Sep 21, 2017 in Firehouse Facts, Historical and Museums |

How to Arrange a Firehouse Tour for Children and Adults

Fire station tours are an excellent opportunity for public relations and public fire education for the fire department. A Firefighter is involved in the business of saving lives, whether it entails response to a fire after it has occurred or, more importantly, before it occurs. The truth is that we’re far more likely to save kids’ lives through fire safety education and the knowledge of stopping or taking proper action during a fire incident than by the actual rescue. A fire station tour is a great opportunity to teach valuable life safety skills to visitors and for children and adults to learn that firefighters do so much more than fight fires.

Make Sure You have Enough Chaperones

When you bring children into the fire department, keep in mind that they are not maintained to be child-friendly. The kids will need close supervision, so that they don’t wander off on their own to inspect a dangerous area. Ensure children understand that in the case of an emergency, firefighters will have to leave the station even if a tour is in progress.

Helpful Tips for Children Learned at a Visit to the Fire Station:

Learn 911    

Children should be able to dial 911 and say their address and full names as soon as they can speak. Kids quickly pick up technological skills, so pushing phone buttons to them is second nature! Make them understand that they only ever call that number if somebody is in danger, including if they see a fire.

Practice Fire Drills

Have you had a fire drill in your own home? Do your kids know what to do in case there is a fire in the house? Ask the kids to push the test button on the smoke detectors, so that they can learn what they sound like and what measures to take if they ever hear that sound. After your kids realize what the alarm noise is, they need to practice exiting the house as quickly as possible.

Arrange a Meeting Place

It’s important to have a pictorial presentation of your family’s fire escape plan. Indicate two ways to escape from all rooms and determine your chosen meeting place if everyone needs to evacuate. It can be any place that is far enough from the house. Remember to schedule dates for the family fire drills throughout the year so that everyone knows what to do.

No Hiding

One of the most helpful recommendations for children is to NEVER hide if there is a fire. Instead, they should get out right away if there is smoke or fire. Children should not go behind furniture, in the closet, under the bed, etc.  They must understand that they should never go back into the house if there’s a fire, even for a favorite toy or pet.

Exposure to Firefighters in Fire Suits

In a fire, it’s important for the kids to run towards the firefighter, and not run away from them and hide. This can be learned through regular tours to the fire station.  Children should know how firefighters look in their full gear.  The firefighter’s “space alien” look can be scary and intimidating for kids. The more exposure children have to firemen and what they look like, the less likely they will be frightened should they ever have to see one in your home during a fire rescue.

Practice Stop, Drop & Roll

Little kids love to practice action steps and memorize patterns, so this is a simple one to make into a fun game for their safety. Teach kids that if their clothes catch fire, they should: Stop! Drop to the ground! Cover their faces and Roll until the fire is out. This technique should be practiced often so that it will become an automatic response in an emergency situation.

Please be aware of the following for fire station tours:

  • Recommended group size is thirty individuals.
  • Children must be at least five years old.
  • A release of liability form must be completed for each visitor.
  • All fire stations are on call status, even during the station tour. Therefore, if an emergency is received at the station, the tour may be canceled early to respond to the emergency call.
  • Visits are a maximum of one hour.
  • Transportation must remain available on site as tours may be canceled or interrupted on short notice because of emergency call outs.
  • These tours are meant to be educational in nature. Consequently, facilities to accommodate food, drinks or parties are not offered.
  • Visitors will not be allowed to mount or handle equipment any fire apparatus unless supervised and approved by fire personnel.

Additional Tips

If you there is a fire pole at the station, it may be fun to let the children see one of the firefighters slide down it. Under no circumstances should you let the kids do the same. I’m sure I don’t have to explain why.

Formal tours should be scheduled in advance and coordinated through the appropriate office (Training, administrative, planning, etc.) whenever possible, and groups should be limited to a manageable size if a tour must be terminated due to an emergency response. During times of elevated security threat levels, or immediately following an incident where hose and tools need to be tested, inventoried, and cleaned, firehouse tours should be rescheduled to a later time and date.

Conclusion

Fire departments often hold open houses as part of their community education programs. If a private tour cannot be planned, ask when the next open house event is scheduled. These are often more fun than privately arrange visits as they last longer and there are more firefighters on hand to answer questions. The community events mean that there is more firefighting equipment available for the public to look at. The scheduled open houses are also more reliable since arrangements have already been made for other fire departments in the area to act in response to distress calls and the trip is less likely to be canceled.

 

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Posted by on Jun 12, 2017 in Firehouse Facts, Historical and Museums |

History of the Fire Pole

Admittedly, nothing wins the spirit of a fire station than the idea of firefighters sliding down a fire pole to rush to an emergency and save lives and property. In an occupation where every second counts, the fire pole has given firefighters that crucial edge in response time for over a century now.

Firefighters commonly have living areas on the upper floors of fire stations.  When an emergency call comes in, they have to move down to the trucks as fast as they can. In the early days, sliding chutes or spiral staircases were popular, but not exceptionally fast. The fire pole, on the other hand, is a very fast way to get downstairs and it helps firefighter to speed up their response to emergencies. To use a fire pole, a firefighter interlocks his/her arms and legs around the pole and uses his/her legs to manage the speed of the descend.

Did you know that firefighters save about twenty-five seconds in response time by sliding down a fire man’s pole to respond to a distress call? Solid evidence indicates that sliding down a pole is faster than using inefficient spiral stair cases or sliding chutes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, the first pole was set up in New York in April 1878. In a typical fire station, firefighting horses and wagons (and later fire trucks) are on the first floor while the upper floors are for sleeping and recreation.

David Kenyon of Chicago’s Engine Company 21 invented the fire pole to help firefighters quickly reach the ground floor. Before the fire pole was invented, firefighters were solely dependent on inefficient spiral staircases or sliding chutes. Kenyon realized the distinct transportation method when firefighter George Reid slid down the wooden pole typically used for transporting hay to the hayloft. David Kenyon managed to convince the chief of the fire department to have poles installed in all fire stations.

 

Facts about Fire

  • Did you know that firefighters respond to an alarm of a fire somewhere in the United States every sixteen seconds?
  • More than four thousand Americans die fire-related deaths in the United States. Most fires could have been prevented by practicing proper fire safety and having fire alarms.
  • Did you know that more than sixty firefighters die annually in the line of duty?
  • Believe it or not, candles caused more about a thousand home fires and eighty home fire deaths between 2009 and 2013. They were also responsible for nine hundred injuries and three million in property damage.
  • Did you know that cooking is ranked as the leading cause of fires in the home? In fact, four of every ten home fires start in the kitchen.
  • Fire related incidents are potentially devastating, but fortunately, they’re easy to prevent, especially if you are aware of the most common fire hazards and take steps to combat them
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Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Firehouse Facts |

Fire Stations – Smallest to Biggest

With pride and dedication to fire departments where one has pledged to serve wholly and to which they would risk their lives, inevitably comparison between facilities ensues. Some stations are proud to be small and efficient. While others have no qualms about building grandiose block-long buildings. Of course factors such as the size, scope, and varying possible contingencies a station’s district might present play into what a particular station needs to look like and what it needs to house. (not to mention the city’s money supply, although some cities can boast that their station was built primarily with donated funds and volunteers staff, but that’s another blog post). So, let’s highlight some of the world’s smallest and largest fire stations (the buildings themselves, not the entire department).

In 2012 the Guinness World Record Academy named the 13′ by 20′ fire station in Goathland, Yorkshire, UK as the world’s smallest. The solo stone garage houses a fire fighting Land Rover outfitted with fire fighting tools. The nine volunteers who run the station include a youth worker, a salesman, and a farmer. The group, aged 20s – 30s, race to their mini-station in just under 4 minutes of an alarm sounding. They eloquently handle the most common emergencies in their district: house fires, car crashes and even infernos on the nearby moors. The land for the tiny station was donated by a local resident, but the building itself only contains a desk and a filing cabinet (aside from supplies and tools of course). With no running water, the volunteers bring their own beverages and have a key for the nearby public toilet. They have to carry water containers and their hoses on the Land Rover, which presents weight problems for the vehicle. The station handles between 25-50 callouts per year. The district they cover is quite large but the human population is low.

There is no official ‘largest’ fire house on record, but it wouldn’t be a long shot to give the title to Fire Station 1 (Feuerwache 1 ) in the district of Eckenheim, Germany. The scope of their coverage includes ten districts which contains the city of Frankfurt, massive motorways, a rail tunnel and rail system, and assistance to the Frankfurt airport. With at least 60 bay doors (the doors appear to be in the front and at the rear of the bays, giving the trucks the option to park inside the inner courtyard area) the building is absolutely mammoth. The station contains ladder trucks, large tank trucks, an aerosol vehicle, three different command vehicles, front loader construction vehicle, and a loader vehicle with a crane. It also looks like the facility is equipped for respiratory and environmental protection training.

The building was erected in 2003 and has a crew of twenty-five fire fighters on duty around the clock. Training areas and inspection zones are also in the facility. With such a large building maybe they have segways to get around?

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