AUBURN, Mass. – With the recent purchase of a fire safety trailer by Massachusetts Fire District 7, the Auburn Fire Department is getting ready to teach the public about fire education.
The state-of-the-art trailer can simulate different types of emergency situations in the home, including kitchen fires, bedroom fires and hurricane and tornado simulations.
Captain Glenn Johnson from Auburn’s Fire Education Division said the department plans on bringing the trailer to schools and organizations in the fall. He said the new SAFE (Student Awareness Fire Education) trailer is much more interactive than the old one.
“This trailer can simulate different types of emergency situations in the home, like a toaster fire or a stove top fire,” Johnson said. “The stove will actually start giving off this fake smoke, and we teach them how to extinguish the fire safely.”
The fake smoke, which is vegetable-oil based, will also go into the trailer’s bedroom to simulate a bedroom fire.
“We teach the kids to feel the door with the back of their hand,” Johnson said. “We also show them that there’s a second way out if the fire is outside their door. The trailer has a ladder outside the window for them to practice going down.”
In addition to the fire situations, the trailer has tornado, hurricane, flood and earthquake simulations.
For example, the TV on the trailer will be playing a children’s cartoon, and the show is interrupted by a tornado weather alert. The weatherman lists safety tips if the tornado comes through the area. Then the trailer starts to become noisy, as if a tornado is outside, and the lights start to flicker.
“We’ll have the kids practice where to go and what to do when a storm is coming,” Johnson said. “Ever since last year’s tornado in Sturbridge, we’ve had more and more requests from residents and organizations to help them prepare for one.”
The fire and storm simulations are triggered by pushing a button on an iPad, and trailer is powered by a generator.
Johnson said they are still developing the program but are expecting to bring the trailer to schools and organizations in the fall.
Johnson said the trailer was purchased in February with funds partially through a state grant with the remainder of the money, about $20,000, coming from the fire district.
The trailer is available for use by any of the 26 cities and towns in the fire district. Massachusetts Fire District 7 includes Auburn, Leicester, Millbury, Grafton, Northbridge, Worcester, Oxford, Paxton, Upton, Sutton, Uxbridge, Mendon, Millville, Blackstone, Douglas, Webster, Dudley, Charlton, Southbridge, Sturbridge, Spencer, Brookfield, East Brookfield, North Brookfield, West Brookfield, and Warren.