JACKSON TWP. One of the many township traditions continued when the Jackson Township Safety Center held its annual open house on Sunday. Families came from around the township - and Stark County - to see live demonstrations by the fire and police departments.
One of the favorite activities include kids and their parents getting an up-close look inside safety vehicles such as fire trucks, police SUVs and ambulances. They got to see special equipment used by both departments. In the past few years, one of the main attractions was a search activity by the K9 officer Ruger with Patrol Officer Tim Rice.
However, this year Rice was recovering from a knee surgery so he and his K9 partner, Ruger, were out of service. Instead, Rice brought along two German Shepherd puppies from a breeder in New Philadelphia. The two puppies were a big hit with the kids.
Kids were also able to try on fire gear, spray the fire hose and talk to a firefighter wearing his full gear. And, there were plenty of refreshments to go around with free hot dogs and popcorn.
"We have great weather today with a great turnout and plenty of things to see and do," said Jackson Fire Chief Tracy Hogue.
Hogue said the event has been held for more than 40 years. For the last 15 years it has been held at the Safety Center and that’s when the Police Department open house was added to the event.
"We always hold it the Sunday of Fire Prevention Week. This year’s theme for the week is Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware that fire can happen anywhere," Hogue said. "We have a new demonstration this year. A team of firefighters will be demonstrating getting someone out when trapped inside a vehicle that has been involved in an accident."
Fire Captain Mike Peel said the department recently purchased a new set of lighter weight, battery powered extrication tools.
"Today, we are demonstrating cutting the car apart using our new etools which weigh less and are battery operated versus using hydraulic hoses," Peel said.
He added that the pumps for the tools are much quieter than using a pump from one of the trucks and having the battery power eliminates the need to run a hose from one of the trucks to the car.
The parking lot of the Safety Center was parked full of firetrucks including two of the ladder trucks. Plus, Sparky the Fire Dog was meeting and greeting kids and their parents throughout the afternoon. The event is held annually for township residents to come in and speak to the firefighters and police officers and learn about the trucks and equipment.
National Fire Prevention week was started in 1922. It is held every year during the week of Oct. 9 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire and to bring awareness of how to prevent fires.