Fire Department to host annual open house

Mandy Grepares, Contributing Writer

The Charleston Fire Department will be giving demonstrations and showing the capabilities of firefighters at this year’s fire prevention open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Charleston fire station.

Working alongside firefighters, the police K-9 unit and the Lincoln Fire Protection District Dive Team will give demonstrations of their own.

Captain James Calvert of the Charleston Fire Department said there will be a vehicle extrication demonstration where firefighters will show attendees how they use their tools to rescue people in vehicle accidents.

Firefighters will also display several technical rescue practices the department uses.

“We will hook ropes up to the bucket of our ladder truck and a couple of our guys will rappel down,” Calvert said.

Calvert also explained the department’s sparkler safety demonstration.

“We have a plywood cutout that looks like a child, and we put a T-shirt on the wooden cutout and then we light a sparkler and hold it to the T-shirt, and we show parents how quickly a T-shirt can catch on fire from sparklers because sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees,” Calvert said.

There will also be a child safety house, and Calvert said it is a large recreational vehicle converted into a home and through the top there is a nontoxic smoke machine.

“Children will come in and go to the bedroom and pretend that they’re asleep,” Calvert said. “The room will fill with smoke and children will get to experience what it’s really like, and this will hopefully teach them how to get out and go to their meeting place and call 911.”

A K-9 officer from the Charleston Police Department will also demonstrate a search with a dog simulating they are either tracking a missing person or tracking a suspect, Calvert said.

The dog will smell an article of clothing and find someone hidden behind one of the cars.

Calvert said the department is hoping to have a couple of volunteers from The Coles County Emergency Management Agency newly established ground search and rescue team come and do a simulated ground search as well.

Calvert also said parents can get their children fingerprinted using the police department’s finger print scanner.

Both the parents and the police department would keep a copy in case of an emergency.

Calvert said these prints would be useful, so if a child went missing or was abducted, the department would have a way to identify the child. Some of these identifiers could be height, weight, age and a photo of the child.

Calvert said the open house is not just for children and that there is something there for everyone. There will also be free food, drinks and entertainment.


Mandy Grepares can be reached at 581-2812 [email protected].