By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
October is a perfect time to enjoy a fall festival, go apple picking, plan for the holidays — and make sure your home is safe from fires. Each year, local fire departments host, as do many others across the country, a Fire Prevention Week Open House. This year, national Fire Prevention Week runs October 7-13, 2018. Local events related to this take place primarily on Saturdays, October 6 and October 13, 2018. At various fire stations (see below for details), firefighters and paramedics will have displays and activities emphasizing fire and life safety.
The events serve to remind the public about common causes of home fires — such as cooking, heating units, and smoking — and the importance of having working smoke detectors (and checking them frequently), and having a safety plan in place. The theme of the 2018 Fire Prevention Week is “Look, Listen, Learn. Be Aware. Fire Can Happen Anywhere.”
Every year, the majority of fire deaths in North America happen at home. Since today’s home fires burn faster than ever, this means in a typical home, you may have as little as one to two minutes to escape safely from the time the smoke alarm sounds. The National Fire Prevention Association promotes Fire Prevention Week as a time for people to think ahead. You can help ensure your family’s safety by having a home fire escape plan, making sure your smoke alarms work well, and being careful with cooking and heating equipment.
Although Fire Prevention Week is sponsored by the National Fire Prevention Association, but each community fire station celebrates in its own way. Below we highlight just a few of the celebrations as examples taking place at local volunteer fire departments (VFD) in Fairfax and nearby areas. All open house events are free and open to the community at large. Check with your local fire station for other events.
EVENTS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2018
- Sterling VFD ties its open house to the annual SterlingFest for a big event that includes a ladder climb, drills, fire demo, and a vehicle extrication (car-cutting) demonstration. The event runs from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Lake Jackson VFD in Manassas will have moon bounces, games, fire demos and more! You also can have lunch with your favorite loveable Fire Pup, meet firefighers and EMTs, and check out all the fire trucks, ambulances, and boats. The free event is from 11 am to 2 pm.
- Manassas Volunteer Fire Company and the Greater Manassas Volunteer Rescue Squad host an open house 10 am to 2 pm. The public can enjoy station tours, museum tours, a bounce house, and a kids’ obstacle course along with fire safety demos.
EVENTS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2018
- City of Fairfax Fire Department makes its open house part of the city’s large Annual Fall Festival. At “Sparky’s Harvest Fest,” 10 am to 5 pm at Fire Station 3, there will be a Kids Fire Safety Academy, gear and equipment demos, videos of firefighters in action, and more.
- Falls Church VFD will conduct fire and emergency medical demonstrations, lead activities for all ages, and provide tours of the station, fire apparatus, tools, equipment, and a visit from Sparky the fire dog! Event hours are 10 am to 4 pm. There also will be a 100th birthday celebration for its Model T fire engine (“Old Tom”)!
- McLean VFD will showcase fire apparatus, conduct live rescue demonstrations, provide fire safety education, and offer fun activities for the whole family. Kids can also practice their skills with real fire hoses! The event runs from 10 am to 4 pm.
- Vienna VFD will have activities and displays for adults and kids, including how to prevent fires and other mishaps and what to do in an emergency, plus information on pet safety and bike safety. You can tour fire engines and ambulances, try on firefighter and EMS gear, and check out commonly used tools, plus enjoy fun family activities, including a moon bounce, games, and food.
- Greater Springfield VFD is hosting a full day of fire safety activities, 9 am to 3 pm. Visitors can enjoy a pancake breakfast fundraiser ($8 adults, $5 kids), plus visit with Sparky, tour the fire trucks and station, hop in the moon bounce and more.
- Burke VFD‘s activities, 10 am to 4 pm, include the chance for kids to come to the rescue! At an engine driving simulator, kids (and adults!) can sit in the driver’s seat of the engine and “drive” to a call. There also will be a kids’ firefighter obstacle course where they don protective gear, climb through tunnels and up a ladder to save a kitchen, and then get to put a “fire” out. Sparky the Fire Dog will be there also, plus free popcorn and other fun.
- Arlington County‘s 10 fire stations will host activities including equipment demos, tours of the stations, and fire safety activities. All activities take place between 10 am and 4 pm.