BY BRIAN L. HUCHEL
The Lynch Fire Protection District is kicking off Fire Prevention Week by opening up its facilities to the public as well as potential volunteers.
The National Fire Protection Association’s annual Fire Prevention Week awareness campaign starts Saturday and runs through Oct. 13. The theme this year is “Have 2 Ways Out,” reminding people of the importance of multiple fire escape routes.
Lynch Fire Protection District Chief Scott Weidig hopes his department’s open house will stress another important issue for fire districts: volunteerism. As with previous years, most volunteer fire departments are lacking in personnel to respond to fire scenes.
“Most departments are hurting,” Weidig said. “I don’t hear many saying that they’re just fine.”
Outside the City of Danville, a total of 20 fire protection districts fall within Vermilion County’s borders. Weidig said Lynch department numbers are down 45 percent to 25 firefighters compared to previous years.
The low numbers have resulted in mandatory mutual aid to fire scenes among the different departments, particularly during daylight hours when jobs can keep some volunteers from responding.
Weidig said applications will be available at the event for people interested in volunteering.
A number of other activities will also be set up at the site for kids and adults
alike to demonstrate fire safety, as well as offering insight into the departments.
Among the activities will be the Illinois and Indiana Firefighters Association Safe House, which demonstrates a number of fire prevention tips as part of a 15-minute walk-through tour.
“Young kids can go through and it can simulate smoke in the trailer,” he said. “They have a hot wall where they can touch it and know whether to open a hot door.”
How to escape a home safely through a window — a lesson in line with the theme of this year’s Fire Prevention Week — and how to stop, drop and roll are also among the information shown by the Safe House.
In addition, airlift helicopters from AirLife in Champaign and StaffLife in Layfayette, Ind., will land at the open house around 2 p.m., Weidig said. People can get a glimpse inside the working area of the copters and talk to the pilots and nurses.
Other departments also have been invited to the open house to set up demonstrations and show fire apparatuses to kids and adults.
Light refreshments will be served by Lynch Fire Auxiliary, and pictures from Lynch Fire’s 141-year history will be featured.
For Fire Prevention Week, the National Fire Protection Association promotes several tips, including:
The Lynch Fire Protection District open house will run from 1-5 p.m. Saturday at Lynch Station 2 on 14th Street.