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Presque Isle Fire Department welcomes community to annual open house

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Community members learned about the ins and outs of fire safety and what life as a firefighter and emergency responder is like during the Presque Isle Fire Department’s annual open house on Saturday.

The fire department has held an open house for the past 25 years, but this year the crew decided to collaborate with new sponsors, Cary Medical Center and Pines Health Services, and with local Girl Scout troops to ensure that the event had something for everyone.

Firefighters Charlie Stevens (with hose) and Bryce Bridges help 3-year-old Grayson Wilson (right) spray a fire hose while his brother Isaac, 2, looks on. Grayson and Isaac were two of numerous children who took part in the children’s muster during the Presque Isle Fire Department’s annual open house on Saturday.
(Staff Photo/Melissa Lizotte)

“We have 75 Girl Scouts here today who can earn badges at the different demonstrations like first aid, emergency medical services and fire safety,” said Grant Spinney, fire prevention officer for the Presque Isle Fire Department.

The partnership with Cary Medical and Pines also allowed the department to set up tables similar to those at a health fair, where children could purchase firefighter themed coloring books and T-shirts, and small pumpkins, and families could enjoy a healthy free meal of soup and rolls perfect for a chilly fall day.

Saturday’s open house included everything from first-aid stations, fire safety demonstrations and bike safety lessons to K-9 and taser demonstrations from the Presque Isle Police Department. Early in the morning, a Life Flight helicopter landed behind the firehouse and offered folks a peek inside.

During one of the most popular parts of the day — the children’s muster — youngsters tested their firefighting skills by pulling on a bundle of fire hose and then running as fast as they could to spray water and put out a “fire.”

“I like spraying water out of the hose,” said 3-year-old Grayson Wilson of Presque Isle after his turn at the children’s muster. “I want to be a firefighter.”

Grayson came to the open house with his brother Isaac, 2, and his mother Whitney Wilson, who said that the fire department’s open house is quickly becoming a tradition for the family.

“We’ve come every year since Grayson was one,” Whitney Wilson said. “The event is very child-centered and family focused. There’s something for everyone.”

Abby Hopkins, 7, of Easton, was also at the open house with her siblings Maggie, Olivia and Nick. Even though she’s not sure yet if she wants to be a firefighter one day, she enjoyed meeting the firefighters and being part of the children’s muster.

“I learned about how they get to put out fires,” Hopkins said.

Spinney noted that the open house is one of the ways in which the firefighters strive to educate community members about fire safety and give them a taste of what life is like for local emergency responders.

“We’ve expanded beyond just parking the fire trucks outside and giving people tours,” Spinney said. “This is our way of giving back to the community and showing them a little bit of what we do.”

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