Fire department holds open house

Fire department holds open house

POCATELLO, Idaho - The Pocatello Fire Department held an open house Friday and Saturday to talk about fire safety and held several demonstrations with a variety of equipment.

A crowd gathered Saturday to witness an exercise using the Jaws of Life. Crews removed the entire driver's side of the car, then the passenger side, and finally lifted the roof off, extracting a test dummy.

The firefighters were not used to working while a large crowd watched and cheered, but the department said it helps the crowd get a good idea of what exactly the jaws of life do.

"They get an idea of how we would approach the scene at an auto extrication and some of the things they might see us doing to cut their car apart," said Ryan O'Hearn, captain of fire prevention at fire station 3.

Children were able to put on firefighter uniforms, use the water hose and learn CPR. In the safety trailer, a firefighter talked to the group about fire safety and smoke detectors, including checking batteries and testing them once a month. Then they conducted a fire drill.

The safety trailer will fill with smoke. The firefighter inside make sure everyone gets down low to the ground and crawls toward the nearest exit. One group was very full and most of the kids were OK, but it was genuinely scary for a few. One boy who went through said he wasn't afraid, because he had seen his house burn down on March 9.

"I felt the doorknob, opened the door and there was fire," said 6-year-old Alec Dixon. "I ran down to tell my mom, woke up my dad, told him about the fire, we got out of the house and called 911."

Talking with Alec's mother, she said despite what her son said, he and his younger sister were very scared and hid in their other bathroom. She said she had a hard time getting the kids out of the bathroom and out of the house.

Situations like this is why O'Hearn said it's important as a family to have an emergency plan, discuss it and practice it.

"Do it at night, activate your smoke alarm and see how the kids react," he said. "Obviously the best experience for the family is to do the exercise in your own home." 

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