The Suburbanite
  • Firefighters, police welcome community at annual open house

  • The Jackson Township Police and Fire departments held their annual open house at the Jackson Township Safety Center on Oct. 6.

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  • The Jackson Township Police and Fire departments held their annual open house at the Jackson Township Safety Center on Oct. 6.
    “We’ve had a great turnout this year,” Fire Chief Tracy Hogue said of the event, which is held annually in recognition of National Fire Prevention Week. “It’s a great way to open the building up for residents to go through the center and to see all of the trucks we use and to try some of the equipment.”
    Visitors got to tour the Safety Center and get a first hand look at police cruisers and fire trucks. In doing so, they gathered helpful fire and safety tips.
    There also was a smoke demonstration and an arson dog named Lacy who drew lots of attention. Kids were able to put on fire gear and put out a fake fire holding onto the firehose and spraying water on it.
    The Jackson Township Professional Firefighters union provided free T-shirts for kids. And the Jackson Township Rotary used the event to kick off its Residential Knox Box program.
    A Knox box is a small, door-mounted safe that holds building or house keys for firefighters and paramedics to retrieve in emergencies. The Jackson Township Fire Department holds master keys to all the boxes in a response area. When they receive a call for a building or house with a Knox Box, they can use the key to enter the building without having to use a forced entry that can sometimes cause damage.
    Residents in the Jackson Township boundaries can apply to get a Knox Box. It is especially helpful for those who live alone or have an existing medical condition or physical limitation that may limit their ability to open the door.
    Hogue said anyone interested in the Knox Box can call the Jackson Township Fire Department, 330-834-3950.
    Fire Marshal Brian Peterman brought along a black Labrador retriever named Lacy who has been trained as an accelerant detector canine.
    “Lacy goes to the fire scene afterwards to investigate and to see if she can sniff out any accelerants like gasoline that may have been used to start the fire,” Peterman said.
    The 8-year-old pooch was a big hit with all of the kids at the open house.
    Kids and parents also enjoyed the demonstration of a thermal imaging camera, which allows firefighters to see through smoke that may fill buildings during a fire. It is used to locate people that may be trapped in the smoke. One of the Jackson firefighters stood in a supply closet that filled with a fake, gray smoke. A second firefighter pointed an infrared camera into the smoke, and the camera found the hidden firefighter immediately, displaying an outline of the person on the screen of the handheld device.
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    Another highly popular area during the open house was the practice area for making 911 calls. Jamie Wood, assistant director of the R.E.D. Center, set up a phone connected to a pre-recorded emergency call center. Kids dialed 911 and answered the standard questions asked when making a 911 call.
    Carter Bradley, a 9-year-old from Waynesburg, was visiting his grandparents in Jackson Township, and they decided to stop by the open house. He said the operator asked him his name first when he dialed the 911 simulator.
    “The operator also asked me for my location and address, and she asked what was my emergency, then she said good job,” Carter said.
    Having the opportunity to practice the calls is good for children and their parents, Wood said.
    “Many people are unaware that the operator is not the person coming to their emergency,” Wood said. “The dispatch sends the emergency crews immediately and stays on the line with the caller while the emergency crews make their way to them.”
    Visitors also were treated to free hotdogs, cookies and orange drinks. Sponsors for the event included the Jackson Township Trustees, McDonald’s on west Tuscarawas Ave., All Occasions Bakery, FreshMark and Max & Erma’s, who donated the cookies.

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