VINTON–Read Mountain Fire and Rescue–Company 12–hosted an Open House on October 18 to observe Fire Prevention Week. This year’s national theme is “Hear the beep where you sleep.”
Highlights of the event included a burn building to demonstrate the importance of a smoke detector and visits from the Carilion Lifeguard helicopter and Patches the Fire Dog. There were also stove fire demonstrations showing the best way to extinguish a grease fire.
The station was open for tours with career and volunteer staff on hand to answer questions. Deputy Chief Jay Cecil spoke to those who attended, focusing especially on the children during the burn building simulation. His intention was to reduce the fears of children in case they encounter a fireman in complete gear during an emergency situation.
He and the firemen showed children the parts of their protective firefighter gear which includes helmet, hood, pants, coat, gloves, boots, and air supply, and emphasized that there is a “regular human being” under all the clothing and equipment. Cecil told the visitors that the entire outfit weighs up to 80 pounds and is designed to last for ten years before it needs to be replaced. . Children were even invited to try on the fireman’s gear.
Cecil shared that the Read Mountain Station receives between 800 and 1000 calls each year on average, with most of those being rescue, not fire. He said that the Read Mountain Station is located in an area of mostly newer homes, not so susceptible to fires in general.
Chief Mike Ketcham said that the Read Mountain Station is unique in that it serves both Roanoke County and Botetourt County. There are both career staff and volunteers manning the station—volunteer firefighters, EMT’s, and Medics supplemented with part-time paid Medics during the week.
According to their website, the Read Mountain Fire and Rescue was established in 1991 in a joint effort by the two counties to serve portions of southwest Botetourt and East Roanoke County. The station is located in the Bonsack area and serves approximately 12,000 people living in a primarily residential area of 32 square miles.
The department is accepting applications for volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians. Applicants must be 16 years of age to join. More information is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.