Saturday, September 26, 2009

Flashpointz -East Pierce Fire and Rescue Open House

Hi everyone! Today was a very fun day. My neice, Amanda and her two year old son, Jermaine came to my house this morning. Shortly after their arrival we headed out to Bonney Lake to the East County Fire and Rescue 16th Annual Open House. It was scheduled from 1:00-4:00. We arrived at about 1:10 pm and were very glad we came when we did. If we had been late it would have been a mad house for parking and as it was, we did not do everything there was to do!

I had no idea the event would be so big or so well attended. There were people every where! The fire department really did a great job with this event. There were several interactive booths, including but not limited to the Firefighter Challenge, Spot the Tot, Interactive Rope Rescue, Spin the Safety Wheel game, Interactive Firefighter, and lots more. There was a bounce house designed to look like a fire station, Jaws of Life Demonstrations, lots of rescue rigs to look at and get pictures in and around, free popcorn, cotton candy and ice cream and plenty more I have not mentioned. They also had low cost bike helmets and life jackets for sale, custom fittings included.

The firefighter challenge is the one I wish I could have participated in. THey might have even let me but I was too shy to ask. NOne of the other adults were doing it except the occasional firefighter when there wasn't a partner for a child wanting to participate. The participants had to wear a bunker coat, run a short distance and grab onto a "victim" (a dummy in turnout gear with a pull strap attached) and drag the victim back to the starting point (a firefighter assisted kids with that part as needed). Then they had to pick up a charged hose and drag it back to where the victim had been, open the nozzle and spray it at a sign on a stand, knocking it over to "put out the fire."s It looked SO fun. And watching it it suddenly dawned on me, I have not had the opportunity to use a fire hose yet!! Bro- you will have to help remedy that (please??!!)

Jermaine was really cute. He was really enjoying all the action going on around him. He was too short to participate in many of the interactive activities, but the firefighters there were as accommodating as could be. They talked to him, gave him a hat, shared high fives, and gave him the prizes he would have been able to have if he had participated. At the Interactive firefighter booth the kids got to put on boots, bunker pants and coat. Jermaine is so tiny that we stepped him into the boots with the pants tucked down around the bottoms and we couldn't even pull the pants up a little bit. So we put his hat on him and took a picture any way.

At one booth the prizes included a choice of pencils, rulers or fire related erasers. Jermaine got a fire engine eraser. He chose yellow. (He's only two so he doesn't know any better!) We tried to convince him to trade for red but he was having nothing to do with that! Walking away from that booth, Jermaine kept stooping down to the ground and trying to "drive" his yellow fire engine around. He loved it!

We got pictures of Jermaine by the pump panel of a fire engine, standing on a front bumper of a rig, on the tail board of a fire engine with bright orange and yellow reflective paint across the back, and with Sparky the fire dog and Smokey the bear. That yellow and orange reflective paint on the back of the fire engine was brighter than all get out! I don't think I've ever seen anything so bright on a rescue rig before.

At the Spot the Tot booth we discovered that Jermaine could not be seen from the driver's seat behind the "firefighter SUV" (lol, inside joke)until he was 14 feet back! That is a long distance away. I think it was a real eye opener to Amanda.

The Jaws of Life Demonstration was my favorite part of the day. We watched as the four man team of firefighters assessed the scene first then planned how to extricate the "victim". We saw them use several cool power tools to do the job including a ram and the jaws of life. The tool they use to remove the windshield is really cool. It shatters glass if needed, it breaks a small hole in the glass to get another part of the tool into to saw laminated glass and they basically saw all the way around the windshield then lift it out in one pieces. Then they cut the top off of the car and remove the whole thing making it resemble a convertable. Of course, they were sure to tell us that if the doors are removable they would use that route to extricate before going so far as to remove the top. It was a neat demonstration and I took lots of pictures. The men worked together like a well oiled machine, as they should. THey did make one obvious mistake that the crowd did notice. The air hoses to their ram and jaws of life ended up under the front of the car and the extication process could have caused the broken car to cut of their air supply for the tools. When the crowd started murmurning about it, a firefighter who was not involved with the demonstration brought it to the attention of the chief, who was narrating the event. OOPS! The chief moved the hoses without comment and the demonstration continued. LOL Nobody's perfect.

We left the event at about ten to four, and there was still plenty more we would have liked to have participated in, but the event was over and the firefighters were ready to clean up and go back to business as usual. All in all it was a very fun day and I am so glad that Amanda happened to be in town and agreed to go. I'm looking forward to future Open Houses, when Jermaine is a bit bigger.

The only real disappointment was that they were not selling t-shirts or firemen calendars! They did have some cool afghans but they were 40 dollars and I couldn't swing that. Maybe next time!

Thanks a bunch to my assistant at work, Nondre', who let me know about this event.

One more bit of news before I sign off:

In November, during the week of Veteran's Day, I get to take some of my vaction and go back to Washougal, to my brother's house and Fire Station!
I hope that THIS time I actually get to ride along on something!! I'll be counting down the days until my vacation now. I can hardly wait!

Have a good night everyone! Stay safe.


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