OCEANSIDE — The firefighter training grounds were open to the public to view firefighting demonstrations and learn fire prevention tips May 5.
Event-goers could watch a car fire being put out, ride a vintage fire engine, try their hand at holding on to a working fire hose, or crawl through the smoke trailer.
The open house gave the public a better understanding of the on-the-job demands firefighters face.
“It’s a lot of stuff people don’t see us doing,” Ryan Robinson, an Oceanside firefighter paramedic, said. “Some people don’t see a bad accident in their lifetime. In a fire call response, time is of the essence in getting them out and getting them to the hospital.”
Firefighters demonstrated vehicle extrication from a burning car, and a house fire simulation in the two-story building on the training grounds using a 100-foot aerial ladder and ax to ventilate the building through the roof.
“I’m working as an EMT,” Francisco Healy of Oceanside said. “This is my goal (being a firefighter). I’ve been on a few ridealongs with them.”
Kids got to practice their skills at recognizing household fire hazards and crawling out of a smoke-filled room in the smoke trailer.
“The smoke trailer is decked out to look like a residential house,” Robinson said. “Kids can spot problems and practice what to do if smoke comes. They can stop, drop and roll. Kids get a good hands-on (experience).”
For adults there was information on CERT training that prepares residents to handle emergencies and long-term disasters. Safety tips were shared by the Burn Institute, Oceanside Police Department and Oceanside Fire Prevention Division.
“The Oceanside Fire Department wants to provide demonstrations and public education about the service we provide and a great public education day,” Robinson said.
“It’s cool giving back to the public,” Robinson added. “We get 18 calls and four wakeups a day, that’s what we do. The open house gives people a chance to talk to us on a personal level and see us in action.”
May is fire prevention month.
Firefighters at the event said dry California weather makes it fire season year round.
“We’re in it right now,” Daniel Gonzales, an Oceanside firefighter and president of the Oceanside Firefighters Association, said. “We’re never really out of it.”