Windham Fire Offers a ‘Smashing’ Open House with Hands-on Experiences

October 7, 2016


by Doug Robinson

Learning is fun, especially when you get to watch firefighters smash glass, put out a fire, dress up like a firefighter, and then get to watch the Windham Police Department Taser a volunteer from the audience.

Those three famous words from the hit television show, “Come on down” took on a whole new meaning for Salem resident John Racioppi, as he stood 10 feet away from the police officer with a Taser gun pointed at his back.  Two additional officers stood aside Racioppi, as they knew what was about to happen.  “Any last words?” asked the astute reporter.  “I am just going to take it for the team,” he laughed.

But, the Taser shot to John was just a small part of the fire department’s educational open house.  The community event was all about learning about how to use a fire extinguisher.  Learning how to properly install a car seat for a child.  Learning how to evacuate a smoked filled house.  Learning about the operational equipment inside a police car.

The hands-on opportunities afforded those who attended experiences that could one day save their lives, or the lives of their families.  Interaction with both Windham Police and Fire Department personnel broke down those familiar walls and stereotypes that these professional face on a daily basis.

Junior firefighters were offered the opportunity to get into uniform and participate in firefighter duties involving the running of a hose, crawling through a small tunnel, traversing a ladder, and then the dragging of a “dummy” out from a smoky building.

The Manchester Fire Department also provided a demonstration with its arson dog.

While parents and children toured the fire department, others interacted with the professionals of Southeastern New Hampshire’s Regional Hazmat Communications Unit, Southern New Hampshire Special Operations Unit, Salem NH’s Smoke House, which teaches how to exit a house full of smoke, or got an inside look at the Windham Police Department.

The open house also sponsored a Chili Cook Off.  The top winners were Scott Zins in first, Susan Martineau in second and Archana Ganapathy in third.

Windham Fire Chief Tom McPherson thanked everyone for being there:  “Thanks to you, you have equipped the fire house and we thank you for what you do.”