Rose Twp. — “We don’t leave our candles burning unattended, right? Does anyone light a candle in their kitchen and then walk away? What about leave the house?”
Lt. Scott Blaska, fire prevention officer of the North Oakland County Fire Authority (NOCFA) posed these questions to children and their parents minutes before setting a curtain on fire in a smokehouse meant for live burning demonstrations.
The moveable smokehouse had glass doors for onlookers. Kids watched with rapt attention as the curtains went up in flames in minutes and smoke filled the room.
This live fire demonstration, a helicopter landing, and robots were only a few of the attractions at the Sunday, Oct. 6 NOCFA open house at the Rose Township station.
Hundreds of people attended.
“It’s going great,” Blaska said.
Attendees learned about the importance of planning an escape route in the event of a fire. The theme for this year, set by the National Fire Protection Association for October, which is National Fire Prevention Month, is “Not every hero wears a cape. Plan and practice your escape.”
Children were delighted to see the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office helicopter circle around the fire station and then land in the open adjacent field.
Jessica Pinckney of Holly attended the event with her daughter Madison, son Gavin and husband, Mike.
“It’s really cute, really fun. Our kids are super shy,” she said. “They went and looked at the fire trucks. They had doughnuts.”
The most popular feature was a live fire station, in which firefighters used a machine that starts a small fire in a metal tray and kids would use a fire extinguisher to put it out. It’s a controlled fire, so if the kids couldn’t aim correctly, the workers could put it out quickly.
“It teaches the kids how to actually use a fire extinguisher,” he said. More than 100 kids did it.
Other stations included the Jaws of Life demonstrations and a station where kids could use a fire hose to put out a fake fire in a small cutout of a house.
Blaska mentioned how fire spreads more quickly now than in years past because more things in a household are made with plastic rather than natural fibers and wood.
“Plastic burns a lot hotter and it’s more toxic. You have less time to get out (of the house). I think they’re saying three to seven minutes is the timeframe,” he said. “It used to be 15 to 20 minutes.”
The Holly Area Community Coalition had a booth, and volunteers spread awareness, especially for teens, about drugs and smoking. Representatives from the Detroit Medical Center talked to attendees about hospital services.
Blaska said many people don’t know that NOCFA often takes people to the Detroit Medical Center Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital if the cases aren’t major. If it is major, they take patients to Ascension Genesys Hospital in Grand Blanc Township.
The Michigan State Police Bomb Squad was also on scene at the event with two robots. Read the story that begins on page 7A for more information.