The sight of a large red truck barreling down the road while rushing to the scene of an emergency—with sirens blasting at ear-splitting decibels—is enough to frighten any small child with sensitive eardrums and a fear of the unknown.
But, as scary a sight as this may be for some, the Town of Mamaroneck Fire Department (TOMFD) hopes to remove some of the mystery surrounding fire safety by letting kids participate in and watch mock firefighting events.
This Saturday, Oct. 15, the TOMFD will hold their annual open house at the on 205 Weaver Ave. from noon-3 p.m.
“We want kids not to be afraid of what goes on in the Fire Department,” said David Maisel, treasurer, public information officer and a 10-year veteran of the TOMFD.
For the last two decades, the TOMFD has held the free event as a way to educate kids about the department while also, hopefully, planting the seeds for future firefighters.
One planned activity—which will run continuously throughout the day—will include a simulated bailout, where a firefighter will demonstrate how to escape from a raging inferno by “jumping” out of a first flood window using his bailout equipment.
Kids chaperoned by parents will also be able to simulate some real world fire experiences, like escaping from a “smoke filled” room by crawling on their stomachs to avoid breathing in noxious air. This event will also run continuously throughout the day.
In addition to activities, there will be hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy and soda as well as giveaways of free toy helmets, crayons and coloring books illustrating fire safety, all sponsored by the TOMFD.
Although the TOMFD is a combination department—staffed by volunteers and career firefighters alike—a total of 80 volunteers make up the bulk of the group.
“There are volunteers from every walk of life—lawyers and doctors to young kids,” explained Maisel, adding that many are from the local community.
Although the department responds to an average of 650 calls per year, the calls range in severity from food burning on the stove to false alarms to larger structure fires, which require more back-up, said Maisel.
“Thank God we don’t have that many fires,” he said, adding that so far there have only been three full-blown structure fires in 2011.
And, given the TOMFD’s good track record, their Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating—used by insurance companies when rating safety, quality of equipment and training among other factors—has improved to a coveted 2, a designation only 23 other fire departments out of 2,469 in New York State share. The new rating, effective Dec. 1, may reduce some homeowner's insurance premiums; residents should check with their insurance providers.
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