FLORENCE, S.C. — Howe Springs Fire Rescue will feature a bit of normalcy for the community this fall with the department's annual open house.
The Oct. 3 event will be revamped to take into account the COVID-19 pandemic — it'll be entirely outside and arranged on the expansive grounds of the headquarters station to allow for social distancing, said Fire Marshal Michael Page, who is spearheading the event.
"We're extremely excited about the event, interacting with the public and being able to share our fire prevention message with the public," Page said.
Page said the department had good turnout at last year's event and hope to be able to build on that this year, though with COVID in play he conceded that may not happen.
This year's theme is cooking safety and this year's live-fire demonstration will be built around a kitchen, Page said. The department will do auto-extrication demonstrations again this year.
The house-on-fire feature will be back and kids can use a fire hose to "knock out" fire from the windows of a wooden "house."
Also back from last year will be the smoke tunnel, a little beefed up, Page said.
New this year will be a firefighter confidence maze set up with kids in mind — not too scary and not too intense.
"We're keeping in mind social distancing," Page said. "We'll have hand sanitizer set up throughout the property. Everything will be outside, in the open air, so we're trying to make sure we keep everybody as safe as we can."
McCall Farms will be on site along with other community organizations and vendors, Page said. The department is working with a food vendor to have light food available.
The department will have a table set up to recruit new members and to get its message of fire safety and smoke detectors out — including smoke detectors for the hard of hearing, he said.
The department also offers reflective address signs, but has to charge for them.
The department, at the open house, plans to introduce its newest member, an arson dog who will put on a demonstration for those in attendance, Page said.
The open house runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and demonstrations will be done once in the morning and again in the afternoon, he said.
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