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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Fire Prevention Week Open House offers fire truck rides, reinforces cooking safety

by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

The most effective way to prevent residential fires is to educate the public on prevention methods, such as ensuring every home has a properly working smoke alarm and to be proactive in preventing an emergency from even happening.

To keep fire prevention top of mind, Essex Fire & Rescue joined other departments across the country in recognizing the National Fire Protection Association’s annual Fire Prevention Week, which took place last week.

As part of Fire Prevention Week, Essex Fire & Rescue welcomed hundreds of families to its three stations - in Essex Centre, outside of McGregor, and Harrow – last Wednesday evening to participate in the annual Fire Prevention Open House.

This event allowed youngsters a chance to tour the fire hall, meet firefighters, aim and operate a fire hose, and even get a ride in a fire truck. Jacey Brockman, Assistant Deputy Fire Chief, said all three fire halls were busy during the Open House night. Administration for Essex Fire & Rescue, he added, like to leave it up to the fire crews to host the event in their station in the best way they believe it would serve their community. In addition to the tours and firetruck rides, for instance, the crews at Station 2 offered a little mini course for the youths to try. This challenged them to carry a smaller firehose and complete other firefighter type training exercises on a smaller scale, as a way to further engage the youth.

Each year, Fire Prevention Week has a new theme, highlighting a different way families can safeguard themselves against a fire from occurring. This year’s theme was “Cooking Safety Starts with YOU. Pay Attention to Fire Prevention.”

This year’s theme, Brockman explained, was selected as many residential fires are caused by cooking-related instances in Canada. Essex Fire has attended a few such instances over the past few years. Unattended cooking is often the culprit in kitchen fires.

Essex Fire & Rescue likes to encourage residents to use kitchen timers when cooking. He also noted it’s important to keep cooking areas for adults, keeping children away from hazards or dangers in the kitchen.

Overall, he said the Fire Prevention Open House held across all three stations were well attended. Pre-COVID, Brockman noted families would be lined up around the corner to take advantage of the opportunity. He noted that Station 2 this year had its best turnout to date.

“It’s great to see all the youth come out, enjoying the event, and having fun,” Brockman said. “Seeing those smiles makes it worth it, in addition to knowing we are providing fire prevention education.”

Each visitor was offered a free hot dog and a drink before heading back home.

Brockman noted Essex Fire & Rescue still has CO/smoke alarm combo devices available to families in need, thanks to a donation recently made from the Rotary Club of Harrow. Recently, crews from all three stations hosted a door-knocking campaign, where firefighters connected with residents to ensure they had properly working smoke alarms that had not exceeded their end-of-life cycle.

This smoke alarm campaign is ongoing. Those in need of a device can reach out to Essex Fire at 519-776-7132, or visit and fill out an application.


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