On Saturday, September 29, the Winslow Fire Department hosted their second annual open house showcasing the equipment and the people behind the scenes who keep their community safer. The day included representation from Winslow Fire Department, Winslow Police Department, Maine Forest Rangers, Delta Ambulance, Winslow Firefighters Association, Winslow Public Library and Miss Teen Winslow International 2018.
Spokesman Firefighter Scott Waldie explained, “Generally the public meets us in the worst possible circumstances. This event is a chance to see us in a good environment.”
The atmosphere was indeed positive with young children interacting with safety professionals and families enjoying the bake goods purchased from the Firefighters Association bake sale to fund scholarships. Booths were set up to promote local services and organizations to the public including the Winslow Public Library, Winslow’s Miss Teen International and the advocacy group for foster children Project Sparrow.
This community outreach event was an opportunity for the public, especially young children, to learn about fire prevention and how to escape from a fire. Children and their parents were shown a demonstration of how fast a firefighter can get into their protective gear. When asked why they give this demonstration, Firefighter Nathaniel White said, “It’s important to show kids that professional firefighters are not to be feared. They see I am a person beneath all this gear.”
Another teaching opportunity happens in the Winslow Fire Department Smoke Trailer, which travels to local schools on a regular basis for fire prevention presentations. The interior of the trailer is set up as an average house with a kitchen and living space. Visitors to the trailer are challenged to identify fire hazards which could be found in any home, even theirs. The trailer can also be filled with smoke to simulate the lack of visibility and demonstrate how to safely escape the situation. Firefighters with infrared glasses coach the children safely through the smoke-filled trailer.
The intent of the event was to heighten the public awareness of the public safety services in the Winslow area. That mission was accomplished. To get involved the rest of the year, the Winslow Fire Department offers the Raider Brigade for youth aged 14 through 17. Local adults are encouraged to inquire about employment opportunities in the public safety services.
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