VISTA, N.Y. — As a grand finale to 2016's Fire Prevention Week, the Vista Fire Department opened its doors and its hearts to its neighbors and friends earlier this month. "We try to take every opportunity to reach out to the community," said Chief Jeffrey Peck. "We attend various functions as guests, and now it's our turn to entertain."
By 9:00 a.m. dozens of people were queuing up for the department's second annual Pancake Breakfast. The grills were manned by Jim Hackett and Joe Haberny, the same men who prepared April's Spaghetti Dinner. This time they were assisted by long-time volunteer Barbara Carlson, flipping pancakes as the sausages sizzled.
The star of the serving station was 14-year-old Ethan Haberny, who wielded serving tongs with a smile, despite the fact that he had gotten up at 5:30 a.m. to feed the family's cows and calves. "I can't wait to join the Fire Department," he said. "I've been coming here since before I was born." His mother, Chip, was already a volunteer while she awaited his birth.
A hundred years ago there were many more fires than today, Chief Peck said. Smoke detectors are saving more people than ever. "Of course, having a smoke alarm doesn't mean that it's working," he explained. Their sensors are very sensitive and become weaker over time. Peck advises people to completely replace their alarms every ten years. In addition, he said, all children and families should have escape plans.
At 11:00 a.m., breakfast neatly tucked away, visitors began to circulate to watch demonstrations and learn about equipment, various safety issues and — for children of all ages — get a ride in a fire truck.
Coming up on Friday, November 4, the Vista Fire Department's Auxiliary will host its 11th Annual Ladies' Night Out, an evening of shopping and snacking. Over 25 vendors will be on hand, displaying a wide range of articles and products at the Vista Firehouse.
The Vista Fire Department is always on the lookout for volunteers. Benefits include tax breaks for homeowners, free gym membership, and a retirement package. But, as any volunteer will tell you, the greatest benefit is the personal joy of helping someone on "the worst day of their lives." For more information go to www.vistafd.org.