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Santa Clara Fire Department’s Open House Educates Public

On Saturday, Oct. 8, firefighter and paramedic Wyatt Jolliffe showed children a long metal halligan bar, a forcible entry tool used to break through a locked door. According to Jolliffe, a halligan bar and a sledge hammer can be useful during a fire when there’s a locked door that must be opened. On this afternoon, Santa Clara Fire Stations 1 to 8 participated in the Santa Clara Fire Department’s Open House. Jolliffe shared his knowledge out of Fire Station 1, located at 777 Benton St. Firefighters here expressed team spirit for being part of “Station 1c” (a reference to the station location and work shift).

“The number one thing we’re trying to do is to engage the community and let them know where their local fire station is,” says Drew Miller, Battalion Chief of the training division in the Santa Clara Fire Department.

Ksenia Bawden, a probationary firefighter who recently joined the department, shared that October is Fire Prevention Month, and that her department hoped to educate the community and welcome families to learn more about the job of the firefighter. Showing her training and strength, Bawden effortlessly slid down one of the station’s poles, estimated to be about 20 feet, from the second floor to the ground floor. Fire Station 1 is presently the only fire station in the city with two poles.


“Going down the pole is a tradition of American fire service,” Bawden says. “When we get a call, we have two options- to go down the stairs or go down the fire pole. I prefer the fire pole because it gets my heart pumping and gets me ready to respond.”

Showing visitors around a fire truck, firefighter Cameron Smith pointed out a hose and allowed children to hold its nozzle. He also showed the pump supplying the water and shared that the pump can release 1,500 gallons of water per minute.

“Today we are teaching people about fire awareness and safety,” Smith says. “The major things we hit on is to tell people to make sure they have smoke detectors, and to make sure to change the smoke detector batteries as often as they change their clocks for daylight savings time. Another thing we’re doing is we’re trying to remind families to teach their kids how to call 9-1-1 if there’s a fire or an emergency. We also encourage families to practice getting out of the house if there’s a fire or an emergency and to have a meeting place, for example, at the tree in the front yard.”


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