Ken Hamill (left) and his son, Cameron, look at some ...
October 23, 2012
For nearly 40 years, the Tinley Park Fire Department has used the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire to offer fire safety tips to children and adults in the village.
This year was no different as the TPFD welcomed the community to an open house on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Station No. 1, 17355 S. 68th Court.
The four-hour event was one of the highlights of Tinley Park's annual Fire Prevention Week, which was held from Oct. 7-13. The open house provided firefighters the opportunity to explain their various job duties and show the dangers of fire through demonstrations and interactive activities.
"The goal of the open house is really to get the children acquainted with us and what we do," said Bill Proper, the TPFD's public safety coordinator. "We also want to show how dangerous fires can be and ways to prevent them from starting."
One of the most popular demonstrations at the event was the fire sprinkler test, in which two portable, similarly furnished rooms are placed next to each other and a fire is started in each room. Within minutes the room without sprinklers is completely engulfed in flames while the fire in the room with sprinklers is quickly controlled and extinguished.
"That's a real eye-opener," Proper said of the sprinkler demonstration. "It just goes to show you how important [residential sprinklers] are. Sprinklers and smoke alarms save lives."
There were many hands-on activities geared toward the children. One activity had youngsters, with assistance from firefighters, use a fire hose on a fake flame prop. Firefighters also spent time explaining the stop, drop and roll technique, but many children already had it perfected, Proper said.
"We visit a lot of schools and explain the stop, drop and roll technique so a lot of kids were quite familiar with it," Proper said. "It turned out that the kids were basically teaching us [firefighters] how to stop, drop and roll."
The open house drew a near record number of attendees despite a steady rain that forced the TPFD to cancel many of its outdoor demonstrations.
"This was one of the most well-attended open houses we've ever had," Proper said. "We estimate we had around 500 people. It was busy the entire time."
The Fire Marshals Association of North America sponsored the first national Fire Prevention Day in 1911. Nine years later, President Woodrow Wilson issued the first national Fire Prevention Day proclamation, and by 1925 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week.
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