Each year during the month of October, we invite local schools and organizations to visit our Auburndale Fire Department for Fire Prevention Week. This is a part of a broader national program by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
In 2022, the NFPA is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week. This year’s campaign, “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape”, works to educate everyone about simple but important actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe from home fires.
Throughout Fire Prevention Week, our station is visited by about 700-900 students from our local area schools. These groups start off with a presentation in our Community Room about some of the experiences that our firefighters have during a typical day at the station.
We also present the bunker gear and breathing apparatus that our firefighters wear when they respond to a reported fire. A firefighter will suit up with all of the gear on so that students can become familiar with the uniform. If anyone finds themselves in an emergency situation one day, we don’t want them to be fearful of the fully-suited firefighter but to recognize that this as the uniform of someone responding in order to rescue them.
Station tours are one of our favorite ways to interact with the community we serve. During Fire Prevention Week, our crew will lead groups on a tour of our facility including the garage, educational area, kitchen, and living quarters. It helps to paint the picture of what a day in the life of a firefighter is like and what they might be doing when they get an emergency call and have to immediately jump into action.
These tours also include a look at our firefighting apparatus, also known as a fire truck. We have quite a few vehicles to show off but the tanker and ladder trucks are the fan-favorites. Both trucks have a wide variety of on-board equipment that illustrate the different types of emergency situations that our firefighters will encounter.
Station tours aren’t unique to Fire Prevention Week as we do offer them for the public to schedule throughout the year. What is unique to Fire Prevention Week is the various activities that we have set up outside of the station for students to participate in.
For our fire hose demonstration, we set up a wooden stage piece of a house fire and allow students a chance to extinguish the flames. A firefighter will help students operate the nozzle of the hose due to the high pressure of the spray and also to demonstrate the different settings on the nozzle that adjust the spray of the water.
We also have our E.D.I.T.H house (Exit Drills in the Home), a house fire simulation that helps students learn to act quickly if a fire breaks out. Using non-hazardous smoke, students have to navigate through our tiny home-sized simulator and regroup at a designated spot outside of the E.D.I.T.H. house. This simulates the very practice that is recommended to keep families safe in the event of a house fire.
We are very lucky to still have some relics of our past at the Auburndale Fire Department. The 1925 LaFrance fire truck is one of our most prized treasures, located in a special building next to our station. We like to provide a quick look at this marvel as a way to present our history and the tools and techniques that firemen used in the past to respond to emergencies.
We also have our parade truck, a heritage fire engine that we keep running for various events throughout the year. During Fire Prevention Week we offer our visitors a ride along in the local neighborhood. It’s a great way to enjoy a nice, leisurely stroll while also imagining the history of the engine as it once responded to various emergency calls in Auburndale.