Hopewell Valley’s Fire Safety Open House will offer fun, food, and important safety information

2016 Fire Safety Open House demonstration (Photo by Mary Galioto)

The Third Annual Hopewell Valley Fire Safety Open House, slated for October 14 from 10 AM- 2 PM in Woosley Park, Hopewell Township, offers safety lessons for every member of the family– as well as the fun and excitement of fire, EMS, and Haz-Mat demonstrations by human and canine first responders and a chance to for everyone to try out the gear and equipment firefighters use.

Kids and families can brainstorm two ways out of every room by tackling a house-shaped hay bale maze. Older adults can get fire and fall prevention and pharmaceutical safety tips through the new Mercer County Older Adults Fire Safety Council, which will be launched at the event.

The event ties in to National Fire Prevention Week and this year’s theme: Every Second Counts. Plan 2 Ways Out.

“We will have a fire safety hay bale maze – a maze that looks like a house with a kitchen, bedroom, and living room – to allow families to have a fun, interactive way to brainstorm two ways out of each room,” said Hopewell Valley Emergency Services (HVES) Specialist Ashley Coble, an event organizer. The maze is joint project of HVES and The Hopewell Valley Arts Council, which will also be holding its Third Annual Amazing Pumpkin Carve at the same location and time as the Fire Safety Open House.

HVES personnel and volunteer firefighters and EMTs from the volunteer units – Hopewell Fire Department & Emergency Medical Unit, Pennington Fire Company, Pennington First Aid, and Union Fire Company & Rescue Squad – will all be on hand to advise families on creating actual evacuation plans. They will also be demonstrating the skills they use to save lives, and will offer attendees a chance to put on their gear, tour their trucks, and try their hand at using extrication tools (commonly called the Jaws of Life), fire hoses, and fire extinguishers.

A significant new effort to keep older residents safe will debut at the event: Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, along with Executive Director Office on Aging Eileen E. Doremus and Mercer County Fire Marshal James M. Greschak will officially kick off the Mercer County Older Adults Fire Safety Council.  This program is designed to provide older residents with information and skills pertaining to fire safety, fall prevention, and pharmaceutical safety and disposal.

The council consists of emergency service personnel and representatives from other organizations who work with older residents. Coble is a member of the Older Adults Fire Safety Council steering committee.

“We have had five or six fire-related deaths of older adults in Mercer County alone within the last year,” she said. “The aging population is increasing everywhere, now that the Baby Boomers are becoming seniors, and the new Council is proactively addressing safety problems related to aging.”

Anyone seeking information on safety for older adults, or who would like a Mercer County Older Adults Fire Safety Council member to speak or provide information to their group, should call the Mercer County Aging and Disability Resource Center at 609-989-6661 or email adrc@mercercounty.org

This year’s event retains popular features from last year, including food trucks, music, and a demonstration by the Trenton Police K-9 team.  The police dogs will be joined this year by fire dogs – arson dogs from the state fire marshal’s office who are trained to sniff out substances used to start fires.

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