Open House at KFD headquarters

By Karen Zautyk 

Observer Correspondent 


Do you know why last week, Oct. 5-11, was national Fire Prevention Week? We didn’t, either.

But we learned the reason thanks to the Kearny Fire Department’s second annual Open House, held Sunday from noon to 4 at its headquarters.

One of the guest participants in the program was Dave Kurasz of the N.J. Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, who explained to the kids and adults gathered on Midland Ave. that Fire Prevention Week is always held the week in which Oct. 8 falls, marking the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

(He told us that it also marks the anniversary of an even worse fire, of which we had never heard. To find out more, see our Thoughts & Views column on p. 6.)

Kurasz was there with a Fire Sprinkler Burn Trailer, in which occurred a short but dramatic display of how quickly sprinklers can douse a blaze. Picture windows on three sides of the vehicle gave the crowd an up-close, and safe, view.

Photos by Karen Zautyk & courtesy of PSE&G
Photos by Karen Zautyk & courtesy of PSE&G


One of the fascinated onlookers was 2 1/2-year-old Izabella Perez-Bambino, held securely in father Jose’s arms. The toddler’s mom, Tania, noted that the family lives around the corner from fire HQ and, at Izabella’s insistence, “Almost every day, we have to take a walk to see the firetrucks!” Tania is a school nurse in Union City, but somehow we think her daughter is planning a different career.

The afternoon’s demos also included a “Jaws of Life” automobile extrication and the always-popular dousing of paper flames by youngsters manning real firehoses.

And all through the program, the children got to try on helmets and bunker gear and clamber aboard trucks and engines and even the KFD’s new fireboat. And they went home with plastic helmets and nifty backpacks.

Photos by Karen Zautyk & courtesy of KFD
Photos by Karen Zautyk & courtesy of KFD


For the adults, there were tables full of literature on fire safety. Even PSE&G was there (and, by coincidence, the MetLife blimp).

KFD Chief Inspector John Donovan was distributing free smoke detectors and small flashlights, invaluable in helping one exit a smokefilled home. Also invaluable was his advice: “Get out and stay out. Because nobody gets out twice.” Remember that, please.

The Open House was both educational and fun, and perhaps the best part was that the public, particularly all those children, got to meet the firefighters whose chosen duty it is to protect lives, even at risk of their own.

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