October 11, 2022 at 8:43 p.m.
Fire safety stressed during Albany educational event
A day dedicated to rural safety education was held Oct. 8 at Albany Area High School.
“We are trying to push rural safety for everyone,” said Albany Fire Chief Gary Winkels. “We want to teach people what to do and what we (fire departments) do.”
The Albany Fire Department helped host the second annual event, along with firefighters from Avon, Chain of Lakes, Freeport, Holdingford, Melrose, St. Martin and New Munich departments; Melrose Ambulance Service and Life Link helicopter. The day included live demonstrations, safety presentations and a time for questions and discussions. The Albany FFA provided refreshments and assistance.
The departments gave demonstrations on rescue operations, controlling emergency situations, and how carelessness can lead to a life-threatening situation.
“Last year everything was about on the farm,” Gary Winkels said. “This year we added a propane burn, fire extinguisher demo and a kitchen grease fire demo.”
Some demonstrations had a wow factor. Freeport firefighters and Customized Fire Rescue Training of Maple Lake conducted a simulated propane burn. Members of different departments put up a wall of water, marched into a burning propane tank and put out the fire.
During the PTO entanglement, by St. Martin firefighters, a straw-filled scarecrow-like dummy was caught on a rotating power takeoff shaft. The dummy was quickly wrapped about the shaft, killing the tractor. Viewers were reminded the tractor was an older model, but that those used today may very well not shut off.
A grain extrication demonstration, set up by Melrose firefighters, showed how departments recover someone caught in a grain bin to prevent being buried and killed by shifting grain. One of the rescued victims was Albany FFA member Chloe Winkels. She said it was interesting how the grain could bury a person and how the departments used boards, augers and lifts to remove her.
Not all the demonstrations were strictly related to specific farm operations. A few could happen in any home.
Holdingford firefighters had spectators used fire extinguishers to put out a stove fire. They learned about the need to aim at the base of the fire and how far away to stay from the fire.
A demonstration at a grease-fire booth showed a fireball showed how to handle a grease fire, and why it was necessary to act quickly to put out the fire.
“Use what you have to put out a fire. Put a lid on in it. A cookie sheet or pizza pan will work. Never ever put water on a grease fire,” said Melrose Fire Chief Tom Budde.
Other recommendations were calling 911 as soon as possible and to get out of the burning area.
There was one message present throughout the day.
“Think before you act,” Gary Winkels said.