Craig Fire Show heats up

Marcia Sovine never really knew how to use a fire extinguisher until her granddaughter had the chance to use one Saturday.

"I'm glad that at least somebody else knows how," Sovine said about her granddaughter, Destiny Paulson.

But using fire extinguishers was one of a slew of fire safety tactics that were demonstrated Saturday during an open house at the Craig Rural Fire Protection District.

A number of parents and children meandered through the fire station, picking up literature and getting acquainted with fire personnel. Firefighters offered a car extraction presentation and taught children to spray fire hoses.

"Every two years, we try to do something like this," Firefighter and information officer Doug Slaight. "This helps people become aware of what we have and what we do."

On display was a thermal imaging device that spots heat sources through dense smoke or darkness. The device was purchased with Homeland Security dollars, Slaight said.

A rural fire department has to be equipped for myriad fire scenarios, unlike one of many fire stations in more urban areas, Fire Chief Chris Nichols said.

"We have different equipment for all kinds of fires," he said. "We have to be ready for any kind of emergency. When people call 911, they don't care who shows up, just that the problem is taken care of."

Craig firefighters respond to grass and structure fires and medical calls for service.

Firefighters also are hoping that Saturday's open house helps residents support a mill-levy question that soon will go to voters. The district is requesting an additional three-fourths of 1 mill, or the equivalent of a $150,000 a year, budget boost. If passed, the increase would add about $6 a year to a home assessed at $100,000.

The funds are needed to purchase new emergency vehicles on an aging fleet that makes fire personnel nervous, fire board members said.

According to fire officials, at least three vehicles need to be replaced in the next seven to 10 years, including a 1977 water tanker truck. The district also needs to replace breathing air compressors, outdated self-contained breathing apparatuses and the station's leaky roof.

District officials have said they are unable to make the improvements in light of an almost $120,000 decrease a year in the operating budget in the past decade.

"A lot of people don't know what goes into emergency services," Nichols said. "They don't know how complex it is.

"That's why having this open house is so important."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.