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 6-12, 2019. Local events related to this campaign in Northern Virginia take place primarily the weekends of Oct. 5-6 and Oct. 12-13, 2019. 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 2019 Fire Prevention Week is “Not every hero wears a cape: Plan and practice your escape.”
Having an escape plan is important no matter where you live or what type of home it is. 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, and also 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, 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 County and nearby areas in Northern Virginia. 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 5, 2019
- 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 more along with fire safety demos.
EVENTS ON SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2019
- Ashburn VFD has its annual open house at Station 6. Learn about fire safety, meet our firefighters and EMTs, practice home escape and other essential skills at this free event with fun, food, and education for everyone.
EVENTS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2019
- 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.
- Centreville VFD hosts its annual open house 10 am to 4 pm at both locations, Station 17 at 5856 Old Centreville Road and Station 38 at 6001 O’Day Drive. There will be all kinds of apparatus on display plus fun activities for the whole family.
- 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.
- 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, plus tours, demos, photos, games, prizes, and a moon bounce, from 10 am to 4 pm
- Greater Springfield VFD is hosting a full day of fire safety activities, 9 am to 3 pm. Visitors can visit with Sparky, tour the fire trucks and station, hop in the moon bounce and more at this free event. Arrive early and enjoy a pancake breakfast fundraiser ($5)!
- 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, with other fun.
- 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.
- 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.