Troy, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Auburn Hills & Oakland Twp…

Renaissance_Unity_Brown_TopTroy, Rochester, Rochester candlewickshoppeADblueHills, Auburn Hills & Oakland Township Join  Forces for  Fire Dept. Night

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 13, 2015)

“I want to show him who the good guys are.”  That’s the reason that Marlon Pokorny gave for bringing his four year old son Christian to the Fire Department night in Rochester Hills.  “If there is an emergency, these are the people he’d see.  It’s so important that kids have that knowledge, so they know who trust, and so they aren’t afraid if they see them,” Pokorny said.  “I would love for my son to grow up to be a firefighter.”

Fire Department night is a unique spin on the celebration of fire safety week, where firefighters from several communities get together in a central location where they can reach lots of people at once.  In the parking lot of Meijer at Rochester and Auburn Roads they attracted the curiosity of chazzano game adthousands of families.  Auburn Hills, Rochester, Troy, Oakland Township and Rochester Hills firefighters put on quite the show with a variety of fire trucks and equipment and even a live fire demonstration.

Six year old Parnika Vaddadi and her three year old brother Mayukh huddled close to their parents as Lt. J. Bradford of Rochester Hills walked through a side-by-side demo of a room equipped with a sprinkler and one without.  For youngsters like Parnika, the exposure to a real life fire situation helps them be better prepared should a fire happen in their home or school.  “If there is a fire we need to go outside, and not hide,” she said.

For all the onlookers, the fire demo is a lesson in how quickly a fire can grow to engulf an entire room.  There is no time to save things, only time to get out.

“Most of what’s in our home are petroleum products.  All that foam in the cushions burns and melts. All that plastic is just fuel.  It’s like a 55 gallon drum of gasoline right there.  Once it lisa schmidt lawgets going and the plastic melts, it’s just more and more fuel,” Lt. Bradford said.  He also added that generally it’s not the fire itself that kills, but the thick black smoke.  People can succumb to smoke inhalation in their sleep and not even realize a fire is happening.

Smoke detectors save lives.  And so do residential sprinkler systems.  The Rochester Hills Fire Department does six demos a year, including some for college students to encourage people to consider installing sprinklers in their homes or new construction.  “There is stigma about the sprinklers,” said Rochester Hills Fire Marshal Todd Gary.  “People think they’re going to go off for no reason, or they’ll all go off at the same time.  They think there will be flooding. Or they leak.  But they’re really just as secure as any other plumbing in your house.”

Troy Firefighter Rick Leach was also on hand to show off the big yellow fire trucks that Troy is known for, and an historic rig from when Troy was just a township.  In addition to having yellow trucks instead of red, Troy’s fire department is staffed seed22_Angela_Fisheralmost entirely by volunteers.  ” We have a large pool of very talented, educated volunteers who really love what we do,” Leach said.  He estimated there to be over 160 people trained and ready to go.

By day Leach is an intellectual property law attorney.  By night he wears a pager that could go off at any time with news of an emergency.  “Not only are they volunteering, but it’s a commitment for the families too.  I’ve left my wife at church, at the movie theater.  If the pager goes off, I have to go, and then go back and pick her up later or whatever can be arranged.  But that really is a commitment the families make.”

But the benefits are huge.  “Troy pays only about $4 million for fire services.  Because of this at they can invest in other community services,” Leach added.

According to the City of Troy website, “The Troy Fire Department is composed primarily of volunteer members with a career staff comprising 6% of the department. Career staff members provide required training; public education; plan review; inspection and code Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dreamenforcement; permitting; equipment acquisition and maintenance; hazardous material reporting; and emergency management planning to support the department and comply with both state and local mandates.

A proactive approach to fire prevention principles and practices helps to reduce the risk of fire in the community. This philosophy is the basis for an affordable, well equipped, and well trained fire department. Overall, the combination of volunteer and career firefighters saves the citizens of Troy $10-$12 million annually, compared to neighboring communities of similar size and demographics.”

In addition to helping save lives, homes and businesses, Leach and firefighters from each of the departments have the joy of interacting with the public on nights like Fire Department night.  “Helping kids climb in and out of fire trucks, posing for pictures, how could you not love that?” he said.

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