Fire safety house unveiled for public

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 25, 2001

Staff Writer

The Pike County Firefighters Association’s fire safety house will be on display for the public Wednesday on the Square in downtown Troy.

Citizens can stop by on their way to work and school or during lunch and find out exactly what the Association can offer in the area of fire and weather safety. It will be on display beginning at 7 a.m.

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This will be the official unveiling for the public Johnny Gibson, president of the Pike County Firefighters Association, said of the fire safety house that was delivered at the end of August.

"We wanted to give the citizens a chance to see what they helped us buy," Gibson said.

He said the Association has "about $33,000 wrapped up" in the safety house and equipment needed to run it.

He did point out the group received a $2,800 discount because the one purchased was used for display purposes at the International Association of Fire Chiefs Conference held the last weekend of August in New Orleans.

That discount, Gibson said, made it possible for the Pike County Firefighters Association to get the severe weather package in the house.

That package gives children and adults the opportunity to experience a simulated storm complete with "lightning," the sound of rain and hail, as well as the sound of weather sirens going off giving warning to seek shelter.

Robert Catrett, vice president of the Firefighters Association, said everyone "is proud it’s here" because three years of work have gone into fund-raising efforts.

But, the work is not over, yet.

The Firefighters Association had to borrow money to make the purchase and is still seeking funds to pay back the loan.

Firefighters will also need money for necessary maintenance of the fire safety house.

"We still need the help of Pike County for the upkeep of the fire safety house," Catrett said.

Catrett said every dollar donated is going toward saving lives.

There are numerous stories of young children saving family members because of what they learned during fire safety classes at school.

"A fire safety house is not just something to play with, it’s something to save lives," Catrett said.

Most fire deaths could have been prevented with a little knowledge and that is what area firefighters want to do.

Outfitted with smoke devices, the fire safety house can be used to teach children how to crawl to safety as smoke billows from vents overhead. The doors have heating elements so a child can learn to touch a door before opening it. It also has fire alarms and, of course a telephone to teach children how to dial 9-1-1.

Knowing the lessons learned in the fire safety house can save lives makes the purchase well worth it, said Gibson, a veteran firefighter with the Troy Fire Department.

The house also has cameras and a VCR so actions of children can be recorded and played back to illustrate what was done correctly and what could have harmed them.

Catrett said statistics indicate the need for fire safety education.

Nationwide, 5,000 people are injured or killed in fires, Catrett said, adding many of them are small children who get scared, hide and die in the blaze.

While fires can be prevented by being cautious, lives can be saved through education.

Anyone who would like to help the Pike County Firefighters Association save lives through education, can make donations for the fire safety house by sending checks to P.O Box 222, Troy, AL 36081 or calling the Association office at 566-0481.