FARR WEST -- The Weber Fire District held its first open house this week, in observance of National Fire Prevention Week, which started Sunday, Oct. 6, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 12.
The weather didn't stop the many who came out to meet real firefighters, look at fire engines up close and learn the importance of fire safety when using kitchen appliances.
Fire departments all over the country hold open houses during this week to educate the public in ways to prevent needless loss of life and injuries from fire. The National Fire Prevention Association's theme this year is "Prevent Kitchen Fires."
Brandon Thueson, newly appointed fire marshal for Weber Fire District, said he is big on fire safety education for both children and adults.
Kitchen fires are the No.1 cause of home fires and injuries in the home, and two-thirds of home cooking fires start with the ignition of food, he said.
"We are called to homes for kitchen fires at least 12 times a year, so it's important that people know how dangerous it is to get distracted or leave food unattended on the stove, and that you should never throw water on a fire caused by burning grease. You should put a lid of some sort over it to stop the fire -- but never water," Thueson said. "You only have 2-3 minutes to get out of the house if a fire starts, since it doubles in size every 30 seconds. It's important to change the batteries in your smoke detectors twice a year, and a good time to do it is when the time changes in the spring and fall."
In addition to her regular firefighting duties, Capt. Krista Horting is a member of the Weber Safety Brigade, a group of clown firefighters who put on a fire-safety program for children in kindergarten through fourth grade. To them, she is better known as Splash, along with two other clowns, Squirt and Nozzle.
Horting said an 8-year-old who attended Pioneer Elementary School in Marriott-Slaterville said to her, "Yep, I remember you when I was in kindergarten, and you taught us about microwave safety and not put certain things in there, like a fork, and how much damage that can do."
Tammy Folkman, of the Weber County Community Emergency Response Team Council, handed out information about the importance of training and mobilizing volunteers to help when emergencies happen. She said the skills they teach can help save and sustain lives until help arrives.
The district's new Type 4 wildland engine was on display, even though it is not in service yet, said Barry Loche, a firefighter and engine boss.
"We just took delivery of this truck, and it will be functional within the month. It's bigger than the regular wildland engines that are used for fires in grasslands. It can carry a crew of five and is a four-wheel drive with a semi-type chassis."
The engine cost $170,000 and is used by a certified task force called to large fires within the state and in surrounding states as needed. There are only about eight of these engines in the state.
Thueson said Weber Fire District has six stations that serve Huntsville, Eden, Farr West, West Haven and unincorporated Weber County areas. He said the public is welcome to stop in to visit and to learn about fire safety.