Kids of all ages enjoyed lots of things to see and do at the June 3 Fire and Water Expo at Escondido Fire Station # 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The jam-packed event spilled outside the fire station grounds and onto the surrounding Kit Carson Park area and hosted an estimated 1,500 visitors in the warm sunshine.
Just as the event opened, a County Sheriff/CAL FIRE helicopter landed west of the fire station so that people could see the firefighting copter with its “helitack” gear and tools up close. A Cal Fire engine crew and fire prevention specialist were also on hand to display their fire engines and talk about fire safety in the wildland interface.
The City of Escondido Public Works Department displayed two impressive rigs: a large backhoe and huge storm drain vacuum unit that can also be used to assist Fire Department personnel with trench rescues. Escondido Police and volunteers displayed the Police and Fire Mobile Command Center and a SWAT Bearcat vehicle.
Just before noon, a large crowd gathered to watch a car torn apart by firefighters demonstrating the “Jaws of Life” and other equipment simulating a rescue following a car crash.
There is no question that fire and life safety were the focus of the event. Hands-on training on how to use a fire extinguisher and how to “stop, drop, and roll” when your clothes are on fire were provided along with information from the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Wise Communities program, Escondido’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Escondido Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division, and CAL FIRE’s Fire Prevention Specialist.
The Consuelo Masonic Lodge fingerprinted and photographed children for their parents, just in case that critical information is ever needed.
Dr. Bronner’s “Magic Foam Experience,” a colorfully painted fire engine that sprays soapsuds that look like snow blanketed another area and adventurous kids romped through it until they were covered from head to toe in the gentle foam. Ready America brought many of their products at bargain prices to help visitors prepare for any emergency.
The theme for the event was “The Art of Living Safely.” The Fire Station was decorated accordingly and there were two different opportunities for kids to demonstrate their artistic abilities. Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District employees encouraged kids to color flowers, butterflies, bugs, and fish and add them to a colorful water-conservation mural.
The Downtown business, Spiritivity, taught kids how to make mixed-media door hangers that were a reminder to “Have 2 ways out” of each room.
There was plenty of other fun, too, with a giant inflatable double slide and two vintage fire engines, outfitted with seats, giving rides to 900 passengers around Kit Carson Park while sirens sounded throughout the day.
Animal rescue and care played a major role, as well. Back this year was the living museum, EcoVivarium, with snakes and lizards. Mac, a 15-pound water monitor lizard, took occasional strolls on a leash through the station with breaks to bask on the warm cement. SoCal Parrot, an organization dedicated to rescuing the wild parrots that wing their way through Escondido neighborhoods, taught visitors what to do if they come across one that’s injured. Emergency Animal Rescue and Krista’s Wildlife Rescue were also on hand as was the San Dieguito River Park.
Other City departments with displays included the Escondido Library, which staffed a display sharing the wide variety of services offered and the Utilities Division provided information about storm drains. Also staffing displays were Patio Playhouse, City of Escondido Storm Water and Utilities, Alzheimer’s Association, Kohls Transportation Safety Program at Rady Children’s Hospital, and SDG&E.
And, of course, there was food! In addition to free popcorn and lemonade,
visitors could purchase hot dogs, hamburgers, chips, and sodas prepared by Fire Department Senior Volunteers and served by the Escondido Fire Department Explorers and management staff from the Rincon del Diablo Water District.
The Escondido Fire Department and the Rincon del Diablo Fire Protection District sponsored the event cooperatively, as they have for 17 years. Escondido Fire Chief Rick Vogt and Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District General Manager Greg Thomas thanked their employees and volunteers for their efforts in making the event highly successful and look forward to hosting what they expect will be an even bigger event next year.