AUBURN, Mass. – The Auburn Fire Department’s annual fire prevention open house switched locations this year, but it still attracted crowds of families who had a fun time learning how to stay safe from fire, while seeing what firefighters do on a daily basis.
The open house is usually at Fire Headquarters on Auburn Street, but on Saturday afternoon, the fire department held the open house at 7 West St., the department’s training facility.
Children and adults had the opportunity to take a ride up a fire tower, spray a fire hose, learn the proper use of a fire extinguisher, sit in a fire truck, tour the fire district’s smoke house, among much more.
The firefighters also held some demonstrations, including vehicle extrication using the Jaws of Life and demonstrations of some of the special-operations teams, such as the Technical Rescue and Dive Team.
“It’s a great opportunity to see all that the fire department has,” said Joe Barnes, father of Coy, Eli and Joseph. “The kids love cheering for the trucks, so the ability to see them up close is fun for them. You also can’t beat the education.”
Capt. Glenn Johnson, who heads the department’s fire prevention programs, said the open house allows people to interact with the fire department on a non-emergency level.
“It’s a good time for the kids. They get to have fun while learning,” Johnson said. “It gives them a chance to see the equipment that we use. The kids can try on the fire gear, so they learn not to be afraid of firefighters when we’re dressed in our gear.
“They get to see our safe trailer to show them what to do in case of a fire,” Johnson added. “They get to practice getting out quickly in a non-life threatening situation, so if it ever happens, they can get out as quick as possible and not be as scared.”
The open house was sponsored through a state grant for fire education. In addition, both Papa Gino’s Pizza and the Auburn Permanent Firefighters Local 4157 donate the food and refreshments for the event each year.
Fire Prevention Week was Oct. 7 to 13 and members of the Auburn Fire Department spent the week in the schools teaching children the importance of fire safety in the home. Firefighters will continue to head to elementary schools throughout the rest of October.