Open house at Mill Spring Fire Department May 14

Published 7:32 pm Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Mill Spring Volunteer Fire Department will hold an open house Saturday to show off the new addition to its main station, some new equipment and to acknowledge its citizen supporters with free food and souvenirs.

Sparky the Fire Dog – who joined the department just this week – will make his debut and inaugurate a district wide smoke alarm campaign.

Doors open at the main station across from the old elementary school at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. Here are some of the day’s activities:

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· Firefighters will demonstrate equipment and skills and new emergency equipment purchased with state and federal grants and local donations.

· Chief Trent Carswell will demonstrate the lithium battery smoke alarms the department will provide as part of the fire safety program. The lithium batteries last 10 years, reducing one of the most worrisome characteristics of smoke alarms – dead batteries.

· Members of the sheriff’s department will be there to fingerprint children for identification purposes and to answer questions.

· Emergency Medical Technicians from the Polk County EMS squad will be on hand to demonstrate their equipment, check blood pressures and to answer questions.

· Firefighters will serve free hot dogs and free bottles of water. Wives, girlfriends and members of the department auxiliary prepared sweets for a bake sale. Members of the auxiliary helped organize the event.

· There will be a number of souvenirs for children – all related to fire prevention and safety.

Carswell, a law enforcement professional as well as a fire fighter, said it is important that children and grandchildren be fingerprinted. He said it is wise to have children fingerprinted every year for the first five years of their lives because their prints change as their little fingers develop. After the age of five the prints remain the same. Parents often put the fingerprint cards in a Ziploc bag and put them in the freezer for easy access in an emergency.

The expansion of the main station with the addition of new parking bays, offices and a ready room, is the fruit of a four-year drive to modernize the department. New equipment includes an enclosed trailer used to replenish air packs and rehab fire fighters; new air packs; new protective clothing and the racks to store it; an off-road vehicle; an extraction system to remove exhaust fumes from the station; a heavy duty washer/dryer system to clean protective clothing; a larger standby generator and the fire prevention/safety program, including Sparky.

The alarms – with a battery life of 10 years – were purchased with a fire prevention/safety award from FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant program. The Mill Spring department will provide and install the alarms at no charge for those who need them. The goal is to make every home in the Mill Spring district safer. Those who need the alarms will be able to sign up during the Open House for the free installation.

– article submitted by Charles Green