While kids tackled the fun setups at the Summerside Fire Department’s annual open house Saturday morning, there was a more serious side to the family-orientated event.
That involved making sure life-saving smoke alarms are in good working order, knowing what to do and having a plan if disaster should strike, and being comfortable around firefighters.
“When we respond to a call it’s usually not a good situation. It can be pretty traumatic for those involved, so if kids can see what we (firefighters) look like before any incident, it softens the blow. And, everyone loves the fire department,” said Summerside fire chief Ron Enman.
Kids got to tour through the fire hall located at 251 Foundry St., pose for pictures with vintage and modern fire trucks, lend a hand with a firehose, battery-operated Jaws of Life, and meet their local heroes.
“Kids from the community get to see what we have, what we do, and then if we ever do respond in our gear with masks, helmets, flashlights, tools, they are not afraid,” said Enman, acknowledging the event is part of the Fire Prevention Week activities.
Connor Betton, aged 3, tried his hand at putting out the ‘flames’ painted on a wooden house.
“I was a firefighter for 16-years in St. Eleanors,” said Bod Betton while proudly showing his grandson Connor the ropes of the fire safety equipment. “It’s great to see Connor enjoying operating the equipment,” he added.
Enman, founder of the Lunch and Learn program that teaches kids how to prevent fires and live safe, said the open house is an opportunity for the community to get hands-on safety tips.
“We do our Lunch and Learn program all week. Each day we collect 12 elementary kids from different schools in the area and bring them to the fire hall for a lunch, and then fun fire safety games,” he explained.
“But not every kid in the community can participate in the Lunch and Learn program, so that’s why we have this open house.”
The open house included a mini firefighter challenge, barbecue, truck rides, and equipment display.
The event ran from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Summerside Fire Department is gearing up next for the Santa Claus Parade that will roll through downtown on Friday, Nov. 22.