The Coast News Group
Community Oceanside

Fire Department Open House features safety tips

OCEANSIDE — To celebrate Fire Prevention Month Oceanside firefighters will hold an interactive open house at Fire Station No. 7 on Oct. 21.

The annual tradition aims to educates the public, share safety tips and build rapport with the community. Fire Station No. 7 has been the location of the yearly open house since it opened in 2008. The event dates back further.

The day is packed with demonstrations. Among the most popular is the Jaws of Life rescue. Spectators can view a simulation of firefighters administering medical care to a person trapped inside a vehicle as the Jaws of Life are used to open the vehicle up.

A hands-on demonstration of sidewalk CPR will also take place. All ages are welcome to learn how to give lifesaving CPR chest compressions. Fire Capt. David Parsons said it is easy to do and effective in saving a life. The process replaces formerly taught mouth-to-mouth CPR, which some people were reluctant to perform on a stranger.

“It’s simple enough, it can be done by anybody physically capable of doing it,” Parsons said. “CPR demonstrations will be ongoing all day.”

Attendees will also have the opportunity to pair up with a firefighter to spray water out of an engine hose. Parsons said most people are surprised at the kick the high-pressure hose generates. He said participants gain a deeper understanding of job demands firefighters face when they get behind the hose.

Another crowd pleaser is the medical helicopter landings within the event area. Two will take place during the open house.

Information booths will be set up by safety agencies including the Community Emergency Response Team. CERT volunteer ham radio operators, who are part of the city’s emergency response team, will show off their skills.

Information booths on the Palomar College Fire Academy program and San Diego County Hazardous Materials Team will also be displayed.

Young adults in Oceanside’s recently launched Fire Explorer Program will be on site to share their experiences learning about a career in firefighting.

“The Fire Explorer Program is brand new,” Parsons said. “It breaks down how to get into firefighting for those interested in a job in the field. It also primes them for success with tips on interviews, and the physical fitness side (of exams).”

The Explorer Program additionally introduces young adults to team-building skills the job demands. Firefighters train, cook and eat together to build strong bonds.

“Everything you do is reliant on another person, you’re never alone in a hazardous situation,” Parsons said.

The theme of this year’s open house is “every second counts.”

Families will be encouraged to have a family emergency escape plan with two ways out. Parents will be urged to talk to their kids about what to do if they are home alone during an emergency situation.