The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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October 10, 2013

A firefighter's firsthand view

Camanche FD open house

CAMANCHE — It’s National Fire Prevention Week and to promote fire awareness and safety, the Camanche Fire Department will host its 45th annual Open House on Saturday.

Prevention week began Sunday and to close out the week, per tradition, the open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Central Fire Station in Camanche.

The event typically draws a large crowd of local residents and Lt. Jim Sowle hopes the chance of showers and thunderstorms on Saturday doesn’t keep people from coming.

“We’ll typically get anywhere from 200 people or more that will come,” Sowle said. “But, it depends on the weather and what else is going on that weekend.”

Assistant Chief Jeff Moore added that last year the open house had 150 adults and 250 kids who attended the event, despite rainy and chilly conditions.

“It’s a balancing game,” Sowle said.

The open house is aimed to educate people about fire safety and prevention, but it is also an opportunity for the men and women of the department and people of the community to come together for some down-home fun.

Camanche Fire Chief Dave Schutte said it gives the department an opportunity to show residents what the fire department does on a regular basis and what services they have to offer the community.

“It’s a good chance for us to get the community in here and see what we’re all about; an opportunity for people to see what we do,” Schutte said.

Guests at the open house can expect a variety of educational demonstrations including a stop, drop and roll tutorial and a Fire Safety House presentation.

The demonstrations allow the fire department to teach children that firefighters are only there to help and not to be scary.

“Having the kids come through is pretty neat,” Sowle said. “We don’t want them to be scared of us, so it gives us a chance to explain to them that it’s still us underneath all of that gear.”

Another way the department has been making themselves familiar to children in the community is hosting multiple fire house tours throughout the week.

The tours give children an opportunity to see fire trucks inside the station, explore the tools and equipment the firemen use and see some of the training gear they use to prepare themselves for a fire.

In the event of a fire or ambulance call during the open house, Schutte said the department will continue with the event as planned.

“This is one of our biggest functions of the year. Most of the deparment will be here, not to mention the retirees and wives that come and help with it,” Schutte said. “If we get called out, they will have it covered.”

The event is open to the public and will offer refreshments, snacks and fire truck rides to all who attend Saturday.

“We put a lot of effort into this stuff,” Sowle said. “It’s really a neat day.”

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