NFSA at Virginia, Minnesota Fire Prevention Open House

L-R: NFSA State Coordinator Joel Hewitt, Virginia Fire Marshal Chris Clark, Virginia Fire Chief Allen Lewis, and NFSA North Central Regional Manager Tim Butler

The excitement of a small town community event was clearly palpable in the apparatus bays of Virginia Fire and Ambulance Department’s fire station on October 8th. The occasion was the department’s Fire Prevention Week open house, which brought in several hundred visitors over the course of a warm, breezy evening. NFSA staff was on hand to distribute sprinkler information and promotional materials. A variety of other sponsors and information booths lined the station bays, and children and families had the opportunity to put out fires with portable fire extinguishers, enjoy refreshments, connect with local community resources for health and safety, tour fire apparatus, and learn valuable home fire safety tips. The Minnesota Chapter of NFSA’s “red bags” and the “Winkler the Fire Sprinkler” coloring books and NFSA crayons were a BIG hit!

The “big draw” of the open house, however, was a landing and takeoff of the LifeLink III helicopter. The pilot did a commendable job of setting the bird down in the street outside the fire station doors in a very brisk cross wind. I told the LifeLink III crew that the rest of the demonstration booths at the open house didn’t stand a chance against a dramatic arrival like that! Here’s a video of the landing:

Like most fire department open houses, this was largely a family event with many children present, so there weren’t a lot of sprinkler-related questions for the NFSA staff to answer, but our presence is important because of the integral part that fire sprinklers play in home fire safety. It is also critically important to support our AHJ members in the area – especially Virginia Fire Chief Allen Lewis and Fire Marshal Chris Clark. They are strong supporters of the NFSA and leaders in fire prevention and suppression actions in the Arrowhead region. NFSA staff members Tim Butler and Joel Hewitt presented Chief Lewis and Marshal Clark a Certificate of Appreciation at the end of the night for their leadership and support of NFSA activities in the region.