After skipping a year due to budget impacts, East Pierce Fire & Rescue will throw its 22nd annual open house Saturday (Oct. 1) to educate area residents about health and safety.
Partners of East Pierce Fire & Rescue, from the Bonney Lake Police Department to the Pierce County HazMat team, will be present at Saturday’s event to feature hands-on activities and demonstrations for children and families.
“It’s important that our citizens know what (services) we have to offer them,” said Dina Sutherland, public education specialist for East Pierce Fire & Rescue. “It’s about education and safety.”
One activity is a train safety simulator that puts adults and children in the shoes of a train conductor. Inside the trailer, vibrations and screens simulate how long it takes for trains to stop.
Trains go through the city all the time, said Sutherland, and many drivers pause on the tracks in an effort to make traffic lights.
“They don’t realize how much stopping distance a train needs, how much weight is behind it,” Sutherland said. “Pedestrians, when they cross the tracks, will have their earbuds in, and our trains are a lot quieter than they used to be.”
Also at the event, Pierce County’s Department of Emergency Management will provide a 911 call simulator, where kids can interact with an automated messaging system that will respond to what they have to say.
The updated version of the simulator is iPad-driven now, rather than on a landline, said Sutherland, because many now make 911 calls on their cellphones.
“A lot of this has an emphasis on being interactive and engaging,” Sutherland said. “It’s not just handing out papers. Everyone will have something we can do or engage in.”
Helmets, life jackets, kid photo ID cards and flu shots will be available for purchase. Sonic is providing $1 hot dogs.
Depending on the weather, Sutherland expects the event to draw a crowd of around 2,000 to 3,000 people, and has been seeing excitement from the community on social media.
“We are getting a really good response from our community,” Sutherland sid. “People are saying that they missed (us) last year.”
The open house is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 1) at the East Pierce Fire & Rescue headquarters station at 18421 Veterans Memorial Drive E, Bonney Lake. Free shuttle rides and parking are available at the Pierce Transit Park-N-Ride on state Route 410 and 184th Ave E.