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Fire safety 101


Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

MIKE YON, chief of the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department, speaks to pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students from the Wakefield-Marenisco School Wednesday as part of Fire Safety Week in Wakefield.

WAKEFIELD — Students from across the area learned about fire safety with the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department Wednesday.

According to fire chief Mike Yon, students came from the Wakefield-Marenisco School District, Gogebic-Ontonagon Community Action Agency Head Start program, Trinity Lutheran Church in Ironwood and the Gogebic-Ontonagon Intermediate School District.

“We’re expecting more than 200 kids for this,” Yon said. “It should be a lot of fun.”

The event spans many years, according to Yon.

“I remember going to the old fire hall when I was a kid,” Yon said.

Yon and department members showed kids how firemen prepare to fight fires, including wearing protective gear like jackets, helmets, boots, gloves and air masks.

“Our goal is to show that firemen look silly, not scary, when wearing air masks, so that way kids aren’t scared of firemen in their gear,” Yon said.

Some students tried on the gear, with many saying it was “heavy.”

Yon also spoke to students about safety practices in case of a fire, including selecting a meeting spot for families in case of a fire.

“It is very important to have a safe place to meet,” Yon said. “We love the idea of meeting at a fire hydrant, but as long as the meeting place is on the same side of the street as their house, it’s fine. We just don’t want to have kids trying to cross the street.”

Other activities included showing different parts of the trucks, including different kinds of hoses, extrication equipment, ladders and allowing kids to work the sirens.

Hoses were set up for students to learn how to spray water.

“We really do have a lot of fun with this,” Yon said. “All of the guys volunteer their time to help and we received donations from the Trans Canada Pipeline, Enbridge and the community to put this on.”

Wednesday night featured an open house at the fire hall for community members. According to Yon, it was an opportunity for residents to see what has been done.

“The community has just been excellent with donating,” Yon said. “We have spent $25,000-$30,000 for equipment, and we wanted the community to come and see what they have purchased because it doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to them.”

Equipment includes more modern air packs, with lighter bottles.

“Two of those are $10,000, but it makes things simpler and easier to deal with,” Yon said.

Other activities included a Jaws of Life demonstration and fire extinguisher practical training for residents.


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