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'Smokey,' firefighters invite public to open house

With Fallbrook being no stranger to the perils of wildfire, firefighters and fire prevention specialists of North County Fire Protection District (NCFPD) will once again present their annual Fire Prevention Open House & Expo, complete with a visit from Smokey Bear, on Saturday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the 315 East Ivy Street headquarters.

While children will delight in getting an up-close look at gleaming fire engines, ladder trucks, a firefighting helicopter, ambulances and law enforcement vehicles, adults will have the opportunity to look at innovative new products designed to make homes less vulnerable to fire.

NCFPD public information officer John Buchanan said the open house is a perfect way for children to have personal interaction with firefighters.

“Sometimes young children are afraid of firemen; this way they can come to the fire station and meet the firefighters in a very nonthreatening environment,” he explained. “This makes kids more relaxed, when we can talk with them on a one-on-one basis.”

Buchanan said visitors of all ages will be able to ask questions of the experts and learn more about what it’s like to respond to emergency situations.

Children are bound to find the ‘Stop, Drop & Roll’ room an educational experience as they are taught how to best protect themselves in the event of a fire.

“They will learn how to get out of a smoke-filled room safely,” said Buchanan. “We talk them through how to exit a room through a window.”

Those looking for even more excitement and a good laugh can participate in the ‘Dunk a Hunk’ event, where visitors can buy chances to dunk a firefighter in a water tank. This activity is a fundraiser for charity.

“We usually have six to eight firefighters who participate in the dunk tank,” said Buchanan. “For a small donation, you get three attempts to knock the firefighter in the water. We all have fun with that.”

In order to help Fallbrook area residents stay as fire-safe as possible, a variety of experts and representatives will be on hand to explain the latest in technology to protect homes.

Patty Koch of NCFPD’s fire prevention office said information will be available on fire sprinkler systems, weed abatement, brush chippers, home inventory systems, insurance, emergency animal response and much more.

“We will also have an interactive kiosk on wildfires and have representatives from the UCSD regional burn center coming,” she said.

Koch said two canines used in the fire service industry are scheduled to appear and provide demonstrations of their specialized training.

The Fallbrook Fire Safe Council and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will also have representatives in attendance to answer questions for the public.

Families are encouraged to bring their cameras to take advantage of the many photo opportunities that will be available with Smokey Bear, ‘Pluggie’ the Fire Hydrant and the firefighters.


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