Open house brings kids face to face with local firefighters
By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Andover - posted Tue., Oct. 8, 2013
According to Andover Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Mindy Hegener, a main goal of the open house held at the station on Oct. 5 was to help familiarize children with their local firefighters. During a fire, “Kids tend to hide under beds and in closets and stuff,” said Hegener. Any delay during a rescue situation can be critical, so familiarizing kids with firefighting apparatus, and thus lessening their fears, can be lifesaving.
The open house, preceding Fire Prevention Week by a few days, would provide children with an opportunity to try on firefighting gear, meet their local firefighters, and try out some firefighting equipment. Trucks were made available for tours. There were live emergency situations planned, giving firefighters an opportunity to demonstrate both a vehicle extrication and a vehicle fire response - “To show them how we respond, what we look like when we respond, not to be afraid of us, that kind of thing,” said Hegener.
Andover’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was also on hand, “Just so people know who they are, how they work in conjunction with us,” said Hegener. Mary Duval has been a member of the CERT team since its inception in 2007. Since then, she has had the opportunity to participate in a number of different scenarios with the team, including assisting residents in the aftermath of both storms Sandy and Irene. CERT helped out, “When 90 percent of the town was out of electricity and people’s food was rotting,” said Duval, by helping to man relief stations, checking door-to-door, and handing out emergency food rations. “When you need people fast, we’re ready to go and handle anything,” said Duval.
Duval said that the local CERT team could always use more volunteers. There is a CERT training session upcoming in Marlborough. For more information, contact Emergency Management Coordinator Paul Bancroft at email@example.com.