Area fire departments enforce safety during Oct. 14 Get Fired Up event
By Kris Rued-Clark
MARSHFIELD – Get Fired Up For Safety, an annual event hosted by local businesses on Marshfield’s North Central Avenue, will be held Oct. 14. Firefighters from Marshfield join volunteer and professional firefighters from surrounding communities in providing safety demonstrations and displays for families.
Since the inaugural event, Marshfield firefighters have demonstrated their aerial ladder with the popular “teddy bear drop.” Children’s stuffed animals are lifted in a small bucket, firefighters attach small parachutes to them, and the animals float safely to the ground for their owners to retrieve them.
Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention Peter Fletty explains why, “Our aerial truck has been having quite a few mechanical and hydraulic issues. Rosenbauer America, LLC, will be delivering a loaner unit, and will be doing repair work on our entire truck – everything we’ve had issues with.”
The aerial truck will be in Minnesota for four to six weeks for repair and inspection. Since the loaner has no platform, the Marshfield firefighters cannot do the teddy bear drop. Instead, Vesper has stepped forward to man the teddy bear drop.
The event focuses a great degree on fire prevention, which Fletty says had paid off.
Fletty notes that fire service used to be reactive. “There was a fire and we would put it out. Now we are proactive. We go out and educate kids and adults on fire safety, and hopefully stop an incident before it happens.
“We don’t have as many fires as we used to, but even in the 20 years since I’ve been here, the ones now are a lot more intense.” He attributes that to lightweight building construction and the preponderance of plastics in houses.
“Fires get hotter faster. Back in the 70s someone had around 17 minutes to get out of the house. Now you have 3 to 4 minutes. The fire growth is so fast. They’re more dangerous to go into and there’s a whole lot less time to get out. That’s why smoke detectors and home sprinkler systems are more important. The smoke detectors give you early detection of a fire, which allows you time to get out, and sprinkler systems help control the fire until the fire department arrives. Once a fire gets going it’s tough to stop. That’s why response times are also more important than ever.”
Making a difference and helping people is what Fletty values most about his work. “I got lucky. I happened to fall into the right job for me. I never thought I’d be saying this after 20 years, but I still love coming to work every day. I found my calling.”
During the week leading up to “Get Fired Up For Safety” area firefighters educate school children on fire safety, and the Oct. 14 event helps reinforce the safety message for children and their parents.
The event begins at noon, with a parade of fire and emergency vehicles traveling from the fairgrounds west on 14th Street and north on Central Avenue, ending in the parking lots of north side businesses, including Culver’s, Rose Bowl Lanes, House of Heating, Gross Motors, Pioneer Bank, Office Max, and Festival Foods.
Participating fire departments include Arpin, Auburndale, Cameron, Hatfield, Hewitt, Lincoln, Marshfield, McMillan, Pittsville, Richfield, Rock, Rudolph, Spencer, Stratford, and Vesper. Other participants include the DNR, Hiller’s Party Rentals, Marshfield Children’s Hospital, Pioneer Bank, Steel Tech, Tricor Insurance, and Wood County Dispatch.
For details go to the Get Fired Up For Safety Facebook page.