Joyous squeals were almost as loud as the sirens as children took rides in fire engines down Cold Spring Road this past Sunday afternoon, part of the Syosset Fire Department’s annual Fire Prevention Day.
Fire is a serious subject, but the mood was far from somber, and that’s the way Syosset Chief Robert Kaplan wants it.
“There are fun things for the kids, but the kids bring the parents,” Kaplan said of the hundreds of residents who attended. “So it’s really about educating the parents about fire safety. If they walk away with one piece of safety information, it’s well worth it.”
The event was held in accordance with National Fire Safety Week, which started Sunday and lasts through this Saturday. The department staged burnings to show how quickly rooms can become engulfed, but the exhibits delved into many different aspects of safety.
Representatives promoted the 811 system, in which people can call before engaging in any digging projects so they don’t unintentionally hit underground utility lines. The Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of New York State made children IDs for its Safety Identification Program.
After getting IDs, many children entered a mobile safety house, where they learned how to stay low in a smoke-filled room and escape through a window. Several volunteers dressed in their full firefighting uniforms during the day so kids would get comfortable seeing what rescuers would look like.
“I know from my kids, you put that stuff on and you look like Darth Vader,” Kaplan said. “But we want kids to know that when we come in that we’re there to help you.”
Photo: A child exits a safety house helped by a Syosset Fire Department volunteer during the department's annual Fire Prevention Day. (Oct. 9, 2011)