Lisle's Fire Prevention Week features open house, silent parade
Fire Prevention Week highlights that safety is a goal, not a given. It's a week in which fire departments across the country raise their doors to invite residents inside. This year, the dates are Oct. 4-10.
The Lisle-Woodridge Fire District will get an early start with its open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at Station 52, 7393 Woodridge Drive, Woodridge, and will conclude the week with the Silent Parade starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, in Hinsdale.
At the LWFD Open House, the department plans to have activities for children and plenty to interest adults, too.
The star of the LWFD open house is Pluggy, a three-foot-tall radio-controlled robotic fire hydrant. It has a list of fire-related questions and answers for kids of all ages. Children also will have opportunities to climb aboard a firetruck and fire engines.
"It is a great opportunity for the whole family," LWFD Training and Safety Bureau Chief Scott Spinazola said.
"We will have displays of emergency vehicles and specialized equipment," Spinazola said. "We will have our underwater rescue and recovery team, our haz mat equipment for hazardous materials along with some equipment from our technical rescue teams that deals with high-angle rescue, defined space rescue, structural-collapse rescue and trench rescue."
Several years ago, the technical rescue team had an incident where work was being done on some sewers and the walls of that trench collapsed. The LWFD rescued one of the workers with its specialized equipment.
The annual observance raises public awareness to the dangers of fire while teaching lessons in safety.
"Hear the beep where you sleep" is this year's Fire Prevention Week catchphrase. The words refer to the National Fire Prevention Association's efforts to have a smoke detector in every bedroom. According to the NFPA, roughly half of home fire deaths result from fires when most people are asleep. A working smoke detector can warn residents of the impending emergency.
"Ideally we recommend there is a smoke detector within each bedroom, and here is why," Spinazola said. "When I was raised as a child, there was not a lot of emphasis put on sleeping with your doors closed. Today, children and their parents are brought up with the emphasis to sleep with your doors closed to protect them from the spread of fire, to keep them secure in their rooms and many other reasons. If the detector is in the hallway, there is a going to be a big delay. We recommend a smoke detector in each bedroom, one in the hallway, and one on each floor including the basement."
Along with that, Spinazola emphasized the need to have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor because it is an odorless gas. He said some manufacturers make combination smoke and CO2 detectors in a variety of sizes and shapes.
"There is something out there for every situation," he said.
All ages are encouraged to line the route of the Silent Parade starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9, in Hinsdale. All parade vehicles will travel with their lights flashing but making no noise as a sign of respect for their deceased comrades.
Participating fire departments come from across the suburbs, Chicago, and up to the Illinois-Wisconsin border.
"Each year, the parade seems to grow larger," Spinazola said.
Due to road construction, the route may change a little from previous years. Families and groups are encouraged to line the parade route to witness the moving tribute and pay their respects for firefighters who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
"A lot of people along the parade route will stand there with flashlights and wave," Spinazola said. "There will be individuals and neighborhoods standing together; each year the numbers continue to grow."
The parade will travel from Hinsdale down Chicago Avenue through Clarendon Hills and Westmont, into Downers Grove where it jogs onto Maple Avenue at Dunham and continues west on Maple to the corner of Route 53, which is Lincoln Avenue. There the parade turns south for the remaining few blocks to Trinity Church at 1101 Kimberly Way, Lisle, where a fire-related service remembers all fallen firefighters throughout the history of the fire service.
During the rest of Fire Prevention Month as well as throughout the year, the LWFD visits schools and businesses for fire drills.
Spinazola said it is important for families to have a fire drill in their home as well. EDITH is an acronym for Exit Drill In The Home.
"Do you have an escape plan for all members of the family?," he asked. "Have you a designated central meeting place where all members in the home will meet?"
The LWFD department covers approximately 30 square miles, is staffed 24/7 by 96 trained professionals, and has an ISO Class 1 classification.
Residents are always welcomed at any of the five stations that serve the LWFD whenever it is not in emergency mode. But at the open house, besides answers, you will have hands-on opportunities not otherwise available.
• Joan Broz writes about Lisle. Her column appears monthly in Neighbor.