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Fire stations open doors for public view

Not often is the general public allowed to wander through a fire station or climb aboard a fire engine — but next Saturday will be different.

Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue officials are hosting an open house, all in the name of safety, from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at nine of their fire stations.

The free family friendly event includes touch-a-truck, equipment displays, station tours, refreshments and safety information.

“We’ll pull the engines out and put them on display, kids can sit in them and have their parents take their picture,” said Bill Minks, public safety supervisor for CKFR.

Equipment displays will include fire engines, ambulances and tools commonly used by firefighters such as the jaws of life.

“Hands down the kids like the fire engines, they like sitting in them because they’re so high up,” Minks said.

He added that by sitting in the ambulances, it teaches kids not to be afraid of them. They also are shown where their parents would sit if they ever have to ride in one.

“We call it ‘a doctor’s office on wheels,’” he said.

The second annual event is hosted in conjunction with the nationally recognized Fire Prevention Week which runs this year from Oct. 9 to 15 and observes the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of Oct. 9, 1871. The devastating fire killed 300 people and left 100,000 citizens homeless. Each year the fire safety message varies.

“This year’s theme is candle safety,” Minks said. “Throughout the nation candles are becoming a problem.”

He added that this year’s saying is “If you go out, blow out.”

Other safety issues that will be emphasized will be working smoke alarms and in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, emergency preparedness.

“(The open house) will be a lot of fun,” Minks said. “It’s also a chance to see how tax dollars are spent on equipment and how we use it.”

As part of this year’s Fire Prevention Week theme, the National Fire and Protection Association offers these tips to keep you safe when burning candles:

• Never burn candles in bedrooms.

• Set up a “kid-free” zone around burning candles: No playing with or near candles, with candle wax, or with things that could catch fire near candles.

• Keep candles at least a foot away from anything that could catch on fire.

• Don’t put candles in windows or doorways where the wind could knock them over, or blow things into them that could catch on fire.

• Keep matches and lighters up high, out of children’s sight and reach, preferably in a locked cabinet.

• Make sure to use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily and are big enough to catch any wax that drips from the candle.

• Don’t leave the room until wicks have stopped glowing.

To learn more about Fire Prevention Week, visit the Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.

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