Peters Township Fire Department

Harry Funk/The Almanac

Peters Township Fire Department

Fire Safety Month always kicks off with a special event in Peters Township.

And although safeguarding against COVID-19 prevents Peters Township Fire Department from welcoming guests in person, this year’s annual open house is still a go.

A virtual version is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Oct. 4, with live and prerecorded segments featuring truck tours, demonstrations, raffles, interactive question-and-answer sessions and the announcement of winners in a couple of competitions leading up to the event:

  • The Stop, Drop ’n’ Roll Contest involves video submissions from children ages of 3 to 6 years. During their videos, children should explain the importance of remembering to stop, drop and roll in the event of a fire, and demonstrate it on camera. Creativity and “blooper reels” are welcome
  • The Firefighter Agility Course Contest, for children up to age 12, encourages them to design their own courses with items found around the house. Examples of skills normally found in firefighter physical agility testing include ladder climb, ladder carry, hose drag, hose operation, tunnel crawl, equipment shuttle and victim drag.

Video submissions should record the entire timed agility course, and again, the firefighters encourage creativity and would like to see the bloopers.

Entries are due by Sept. 27. For more information, visit www.ptfireprevention.com/contests.

In the meantime, firefighter and emergency medical technician Jordan Cramer is developing a virtual tour of the Peters Township Fire Department station, to be posted online by the time of the open house.

Also during Fire Safety Month, the department is launching a hybrid version of its Citizens Fire Academy program, which runs for six weeks starting Oct. 14. The online portion takes place with Zoom classroom sessions Wednesday nights.

“Then we’ll be doing practical sessions on Sundays in smaller groups, where we can control social distance,” Cramer said.

Peters Township residents who are interested in participating can register through Oct. 7 at www.ptfireprevention.com/citizen-s-fire-academy.

Cramer has been coordinating efforts to continue the department’s tradition of community outreach with pandemic-safe events, which also include educational series for children and adults conducted via Zoom on the final three Sundays in October.

The children’s programs, which begin at 6 p.m., will build off of themes established during the open house, with more in-depth examinations of topics such as preventing fires, calling 911 and taking part in Operation EDITH: Exit Drill In The Home. Those who complete the entire course will receive a certificate, T-shirt and visit from fire department.

During the 7 p.m. programs for adults, the aim is to provide the knowledge and tools necessary to reinforce themes taught to their children and ensure their houses are safe. Also, adults will receive a basic understanding of the fire department and its offerings, including addressing frequently asked questions as obtained through various social media.

Meanwhile, the department has resumed conducting safety checks of children’s vehicle seats, following a lull caused by COVID-19.

“It was important that we got that back up and running,” Cramer said. “A lot of expectant moms called who had never installed a car seat or are concerned about the safety, and it was tough for us to keep telling people no.”

Necessary precautions are being taken.

“We’re in an N-95 mask. We wear gloves,” Cramer said. “We require that they also wear a mask when they come in, and we limit the amount of people.”

For more information about fire prevention and community outreach, visit www.ptfireprevention.com.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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