Glen Ellyn open house helps families with fire safety

 
 
Updated 10/6/2011 2:34 PM
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  • The Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company will host an open house at its main station, Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Saturday, Oct. 8, to kick off Fire Prevention Week. Other fire departments throughout the area are hosting similar events to encourage fire safety.

      The Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company will host an open house at its main station, Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, Saturday, Oct. 8, to kick off Fire Prevention Week. Other fire departments throughout the area are hosting similar events to encourage fire safety. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

Fire Prevention Week began nationwide in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and inform the public about the importance of fire prevention.

Today, fire departments throughout the country continue to focus their efforts on getting the word out about smoke detectors, home escape plans and other fire safety tips.

And it's continued educational efforts like Fire Prevention Week and the lessons children learn in school that demonstrate the message is getting through, according to Craig Eldridge, a firefighter with the Glen Ellyn Volunteer Fire Company.

"It always impresses me how young kids are -- they start talking about what to do and what not to do," Eldridge said. "Absolutely, I think the efforts are paying off."

Glen Ellyn's fire company is one of several departments across the suburbs hosting Fire Prevention Week activities beginning this weekend. On Saturday, Oct. 8, the company will host an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its downtown station, Main Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

On Monday, Oct. 10, it will host open houses from 7 to 9 p.m. at the main location and second fire house, 681 Taft Ave.

During the Saturday event, children will be able to participate in a simulated house fire demonstration by use of a "smoke trailer," Eldridge said.

The inside of the trailer is set up to look like a kitchen and part of a bedroom, and can be filled with safe "theatrical" smoke. Children inside will be greeted by a firefighter fully outfitted with gear, and they'll be taught how to find their way out safely, Eldridge said.

There will also be safety demonstrations of "stop, drop and roll" and informational tables from the Glen Ellyn Police Department and DuPage Public Safety Communications, DU-COMM.

Winners of a Fire Prevention Week poster contest will be honored. This year's theme is "It's Fire Prevention Week! Protect Your Family from Fire!"

If the weather cooperates on Saturday, Eldridge said, the fire company will block off part of Pennsylvania Avenue and bring its rigs onto the street for the public to view up close.

The downtown fire house open house has seen as many as 400 attendees in years past, he said.

Also on Saturday, the fire company will launch its annual fund drive. As one of the few remaining volunteer fire forces, the Glen Ellyn fire company relies heavily on resident donations to pay for gear, vehicles and day-to-day expenses.

Officials have suggested residents make a contribution of $95 per household and $190 per business. Donations are tax-deductible and can be mailed to P.O. Box 460, Glen Ellyn, 60138, or dropped off at either fire station. Those interested in donating can also check a box on their village water bill.