Wednesday open house highlights fire week; kids get school visits

Oct 10, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

This week is all about fire safety and prevention lessons for the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department.

Local firefighters and their fire trucks will be visiting Riverton schools until Friday, while other students are scheduled to visit Fire Station 4, at 404 South Broadway.

One of the first stops for firefighters was Monday at Jackson Elementary School, where students were able to board a fire truck and meet three local firemen.

Full equipment

Firefighter Aaron Kaffery, dressed in full gear, demonstrated to students how he would crawl into a burning room to search for people. He said he announces himself through his mask as he searches around.

It's important for anyone in a burning house to stay low but not to hide, he explained, so they are visible to the firefighters looking for them.

Kaffery told students they should know their address in case they have to make the call to the fire department in an emergency.

Past fire chief Ralph Estell talked about fire detectors and the importance of having one in every home. He also noted that people should never run inside a burning structure to retrieve items or even pets.

"You can buy new things, but your family can't buy a new you," Kaffery told students.

'We're not scary'

Children tend to think fire fighters are scary because of their heavy gear and masks, training chief Brandon Ward said.

He said it's critical for students to see what firefighters look like in full gear so the children don't hesitate when firefighters attempt to retrieve them from an emergency situation.

"We're not scary - we're just normal human beings," Ward said. "But they've shown they're afraid."

Ward has been leading fire safety for the community for the past 20 years. He said it's helpful when children visit the station and see the trucks and the equipment firefighters use.

Students are also taught not to play with fire. Ward said it's helpful when someone other than a parent or guardian teaches that lesson.

"I've noticed fires have gone way down with kids playing with matches," he said, referencing fire prevention week. "This puts a little information in their heads that fire is not a toy."

Schools, churches, preschools or daycares can still schedule a visit to Station 4.

Open house

An open house will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the station as well. All trucks and turnout gear will be displayed, and fire safety information will be available. People can tour the station, and the public can meet fire fighters.

A car extrication demonstration will take place, and Guardian Life Flight will display a helicopter if it's available at the time. An ambulance will be present depending on availability as well.

Snacks are included.

The Riverton fire district has a total of 41 volunteer firemen. For more information call 856-2284 or 709-3189.