Fire Dept. open house draws hundreds

Firefighters from the 10th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department provide  a vehicle extrication demonstration during an open house Aug. 16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Mater)

Firefighters from the 10th Civil Engineer Squadron fire department provide a vehicle extrication demonstration during an open house Aug. 16. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Mater)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- How many firefighters does it take to open a car like a tin can?

The answer is four, but if you checked out the Air Force Academy Fire Department's Aug. 16 open house, you already knew that.

About 800 people attended this year's open house, which included a vehicle extrication demo by 10th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters, a military working dog demo by 10th Security Forces Squadron Airmen, fire truck and equipment displays, cadet falconers, puppet shows and free food courtesy of the 10th Force Support Squadron.

The crowd included a large number of children, which Academy Fire Chief Ken Helgerson said are the focus of open house events.

"All the things we do and all the items we give away carry a fire safety message," Helgerson said. "We want kids to get the messages, because studies have shown that if they're in an actual emergency, they'll go back to what they were exposed to early on."

Helgerson credited Mike Mater and Steven Gonzales, who, alongside 20 other firefighters, made the event successful by volunteering their time and coordinating other units' involvement.