Open house exhibits fire department’s diversity

On Sunday, October 13, the Coppell Fire Department (CFD) held its annual open house in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week (annually the second week in October). CFD has been hosting the event for more than 15 years to educate the community about safety and emergency preparedness.

Coppell Fire Chief Kevin Richardson explained, “The open house is designed for two things. One, to provide education to our community about fire and life safety initiatives, so we have a number of people who will help provide some information from disaster training to weather preparedness – how to learn CPR – just a whole slew of prevention and education opportunities. The second thing we try to do is educate our community a little bit about what the fire department does. It’s really transcribed into an overall life safety initiative. We do technical rescues. We do hazardous materials. We have paramedics and transport EMS (Emergency Medical Services). And we do also fight fires. So, really, we’re an all hazards organization, and we want our community to understand that that’s what we’re doing. And (we are here to) educate them on what exactly the services (are) they can expect from the fire department in Coppell.”

The bays that normally house the fire trucks at Fire Station #3 were filled with information tables and displays related to health and safety. Kids were invited to try on full firefighter gear from the boots up to the helmet. They were also able to aim a small fire hose at a simulated burning house. And, of course, the big red fire trucks were out on display.

As promised, firefighters also demonstrated a few technical rescue procedures. In one presentation, a ladder truck had its ladder extended high above and amannequin was suspended from a cable to simulate a stranded person. Then a firefighter was hoisted up on another cable to reach the “victim” and bring him safely down. Another rescue team used a salvage car to demonstrate a motor vehicle rescue. They broke out the glass and forced open the doors with the “Jaws of Life,” a hydraulic rescue tool used to free victims from confined spaces by cutting, ramming or spreading debris. In many cases, they were forcing the car to yield at its strongest structural points. Finally, they bent the car frame downward which would allow them to free a driver from beneath the steering wheel.

Even though the event had a school carnival atmosphere with the shrieks and laughter of happy children, the folks who came out learned a thing or two about staying safe in a desperate situation, and they got to meet some of the people who dedicate themselves to rescuing them and keeping them safe.