CAZENOVIA — The Cazenovia Fire Department (CFD) is inviting the public to the firehouse on Sunday, Oct. 15, from 1 to 3 p.m., for its annual open house.
Community members of all ages will have the opportunity to meet some of their local firefighters, check out the fire engines, increase their knowledge of fire safety and prevention, and learn about joining the fire department. Light snacks will be provided.
Kids will also get the chance to use a fire hose and ladders, try on gear, and make escape plans for their homes.
According to CFD Interior Firefighter Pat Scott, creating an escape plan is an important precaution because it can be difficult to think or act in stressful situations such as a fire.
“This is especially true for children,” he said. “Having a plan ahead of time reduces the risk of somebody panicking and freezing up or doing something to make the situation worse.”
Scott, who is helping with the open house, said the CFD opens its station to the public each year with the goals of getting more people to create escape plans, increasing the fire department’s visibility in the community, enhancing public relations, and recruiting new members.
“There is usually a table with flyers, applications, and a couple of firefighters there to answer any questions [from prospective members],” he said. “I personally joined when I was 16 because my dad was a member. I was a member for 11 years before I moved to Florida. When I came back, I rejoined because of the camaraderie. They’re the best group of people you will ever meet.”
According to CFD Chief Sam Usborne, the all-volunteer fire department currently has 25 active members.
“Of those 25 active members, 75 percent are 50 years of age and older, so we are always looking for high school, college, [and] 20-something-year-old people,” Usborne said.
The chief also said that each year, the CFD tries to time its open house to coincide with Fire Prevention Week (FPW), which is sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association and observed during the week of Oct. 9 in commemoration of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
This year’s FPW campaign is “Cooking safety starts with YOU.”
During that week, CFD members will be visiting Burton Street Elementary School to teach the students about fire prevention and the simple actions they can take to keep themselves and those around them safe when cooking.
According to Usborne, the students will have the chance to explore the fire trucks, crawl through a simulated burning home filled with fake smoke, and become familiarized with firefighters dressed in their complete turnout gear and equipped with their breathing apparatuses.
The Cazenovia Fire Department is headquartered at 121 Albany St., Cazenovia. For more information, visit facebook.com/cazenoviafire.