SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. What six-year-old boy doesnt want to get inside a fire truck? asked South Salem resident Mary Alice Stephenson as she watched her six-year-old, Willem Van der Wal, smile down from the cabin of the big, red vehicle.
Stephenson and her son were attending the South Salem Fire Departments annual open house on Saturday, Oct. 15.
Stephenson was right; kids love fire trucks. South Salem Fire Captain Matt Yorke said about 200 of them would pass through the firehouse on Saturday to check out the apparatus, meet Sparky the Fire Dog, learn a bit about fire safety, hop around inside a bouncy house that resembled a fire truck, and munch down some free burgers and hot dogs.
This is our sixth year doing this, said Yorke, who is also the chairman of the departments fire prevention committee. It started out kind of small, but we try to add something to the equation every year.
Yorke explained that the purpose of the open house was two-fold.
First, we want to show the community what we are about and let them learn more about the equipment we have here, he said. Secondly, we want to tie it in with Fire Prevention Week where we can reference fire safety in a fun sort of way.
Every half hour, the open house featured some type of demonstration, ranging from tours through the fire safety trailer to a car-extraction demonstration using the device commonly called the jaws of life.
Additionally, state police were on hand to help parents with a child safety seat inspection and show them how to properly install them.
Stephenson said she thought the open house was a great idea and an important community event.
I think its really well organized and the kids are having a blast, she said. We are learning a lot about safety. Teaching the kids something important while theyre having fun is a smart way of doing it. Its also a great way to bring the community together. Getting to know the fire department is very important.
Yorke admitted he could relate to youngsters attraction to the fire trucks and the thrill they get climbing up into them and sitting behind the wheel.
I still love getting in a fire truck, he said with a big smile.
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