Garden City Fire and Police Departments Welcome Residents at Open Houses
October 17, 2019
On Saturday, October 12, the Garden City Fire and Police Departments each hosted an Open House for the community. The free family event ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and gave the public a chance to tour the fire house and the police department. Light refreshments were available and the Garden City Lions Club, who co-hosted the event, provided cider and donuts. The event was held at the city's public safety campus on Middlebelt Road just north of Ford Road.
The fire department's Lt. Steven Rhea has been involved with public education for most of his 26 years as a fire fighter. He organized his department's open house and says, "I love showing off to people what their tax dollars are doing."
Children were able to spray water with the fire hose, play games, and explore the fire truck. Rhea says his officers go into the schools to bring awareness about fire safety, including the importance of having a smoke alarm and the dangers of playing with fire. "We want the kids to bring these questions home to the parents," he says. "At the open house we can reach both the kids and the parents."
At the fire department, the focus was escaping a house fire, and information on planning and practicing an escape route were made available by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). Rhea explains that time available for escaping a burning home is anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes.
A vehicle extraction demonstration was part of the public education. Fire fighters used the Jaws of Life on a donated car to show how one of a firefighters most famous tools works.
At the police department, attendees were greeted by K-9 Officer Bruce Shippe and Rudy. The police department was open for tours and vehicles were available for curious explorers. Public safety information was available regarding the potential dangers of alcohol use. The open house provided police officers another opportunity to connect with the citizens they serve.
Also on hand at the fire house was the Garden City Family Resource Center, PKSA Karate School and students, and the State Farm Lindbloom Agency provided fire hats for the children. Gordon Chevrolet offered a raffle featuring a television as the big prize. Rhea said 12 different organizations in all helped make the day a success. "It takes a community to do this," he said, clearly pleased with the contributions of volunteers, businesses, and community organizations. "I love having people in the station," says Rhea. "I think it's going to be more and more important that we do that through the years just to keep people knowing we're here.