CLAYTON — An open house including the police, fire and service departments was held Tuesday night at the Clayton Government Center from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.
The event drew a huge crowd consisting mostly of area families. The KinderCare across the street from the government center donated its grounds for parking. Some residents parked in the Northmont Board of Education lot and along Shell Avenue.
This was the first year that all three departments were included. In the past the event was a Fire Department Open House in observation of October being National Fire Prevention Month. In recent years the police department was added to the event and now the service department.
“The last couple of years the police department has participated with us and it has been a great success,” said Fire Chief Brian Garver.
A Mobile ICU unit from Premier Health was on display along with a CareFlight helicopter. The Pink Ribbon Girls fire truck was on display and there were two fire Dalmatians for kids to play with and pet. Clayton Fire Department apparatus was on display with toy fire helmets and other handouts given to kids in attendance.
“We’ve never had enough room on this property to actually land CareFlight, which is always a big attraction,” Garver noted.
The city removed a few trees behind the service department to accommodate a landing area for the CareFlight helicopter, which landed on the southern portion of the property for the open house.
“People were actually able to get into the helicopter to see what it is like and how it is equipped,” Garver said.
The Dayton Police Bomb Squad participated as well as a Dayton Police S.W.A.T. team vehicle. Englewood Truck Towing & Recovery had one of its trucks on site suspending a CASE front end loader off the ground.
A new feature for the kids was a 40-foot obstacle course bounce house.
Snow cones were served at this year’s event instead of cookies along with hotdogs. Within the first hour 300 hot dogs were cooked by the police department and consumed by the massive crowd attending the event. Police personnel also gave away free bottled water.
A fire extinguisher demonstrator and a model house for kids to spray water at from a real fire house was also featured.
The police department gave away wristbands and coloring books and had a dunk tank with volunteers from the service department taking turns getting soaked for the entertainment of the public. The police department also offered pony rides by Carr’s Belgian & Carriage Services from Casstown as well as face painting. The Dayton Police Bomb Squad dog as well as other K9s also participated.
The service department displayed its new Western Star dump truck/snow plow.
“I’ve actually had people get inside of it and say it looks like the cockpit of an airplane,” said Service Department Director Randy Sanders. “All of our new equipment seems to be a hit with the kids.”
Sponsored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Fire Prevention Month has roots that date back to ‘The Great Chicago Fire of 1871’ that killed more than 250 people and left more than 100,000 homeless. The fire, which was reportedly started in a barn, also burned more than 2,000 acres and destroyed about 17,400 structures. The three-day fire, which started October 8, did most of its damage on October 9, 1871, which is why Fire Prevention Week is always held around that date. The first National Fire Prevention Day was declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1922, and the week-long observance is the longest running public safety and health campaign on record.
In 2000, the NFPA extended Fire Prevention Week to include the entire month of October, and entities such as public libraries, schools and utility companies joined in to spread the word not only about fire safety and prevention, but overall personal safety.