Fire station open house mixes fun, education

SAN MARCOS — With an impressive flagpole fashioned from a fully extended ladder out the back of a fire truck, the San Marcos Fire Department made itself uniquely visible for an open house held Oct. 11 at Fire Station No. 1. The event was packed with families from the area touring the station and interacting with members of the fire department. The interior of the garage had tables aimed at educating children and their families about fire prevention. One display had an array of lighters which looked dangerously like toys.
The crowd outside was thick with children running around in plastic firefighter hats, and various activities aimed at the younger attendees. Burgers and hot dogs on the grill blanketed the back of the station with summertime aroma. One area had full firefighter uniforms to try on for youth and adults; another featured working fire hoses that children could aim at wooden cutouts in the shape of flames. Many of the children were content to run around with their hats and get their pictures taken in and on the fire engines parked around the back lot.
Though there was plenty of laughing and playing and tugging on the sleeves of the Dalmatian mascot, the open house was still centered on education. “The main goal is just to provide information to the community of San Marcos,” Capt. Matt Wiberg said. “We have displays, demonstrations and activities for the kids to spread the fire prevention word. But we like to put these (events) on and invite the community out and say hi to the local firemen.
“Space is the only thing that limits how big we can make this,” Wiberg said when asked about the perceived success of the open house event. “We’ve done as much as we can. This year’s turnout is much larger than last year’s. It’s really neat to see a lot of the community come out, lots of kids, lots of families.”

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