HomeVoorhees NewsVoorhees Township Fire Department hosts annual Fire Prevention Awareness Night

Voorhees Township Fire Department hosts annual Fire Prevention Awareness Night

The evening consisted of K-9s, quints and camaraderie.

Firefighter Rafael Melendez of the Voorhees Township Fire Department guides Layla Mosqueda through the smokehouse maze.

Sirens sounded and ladders glistened as a state police helicopter circled the airspace of Eastern Regional High School.

The scene was one of several spectacles that comprised Voorhees Township Fire Department’s annual Fire Prevention Awareness Night on Wednesday.

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The thrilling yet informative event has happened annually in Voorhees Township over the the past few decades with Voorhees fire service dating back more than a century ago.

“I can remember coming over 30 years ago as a kid myself,” said Fire Chief Jim Pacifico.

Aside from ordinary family-fun activities such as face painting and balloon art, the evening’s interactive entertainment reflects the annual theme implemented by the National Fire Protection Association. The organization’s 2017 tip stresses “Every Second Counts: Plan 2 Ways Out.”

Youngsters maneuvered through a simulated smokehouse maze in which firefighters demonstrated the importance of planning two paths of egress.

“‘If there’s a fire in your house, you want to know two separate ways to escape. Often, everyone will enter and exit a house the normal way when there’s not an emergency,” Pacifico said. “It’s habit — when someone goes in their house the same way every time, that’s the way they want to leave.”

People cannot rely on this instinct, as, naturally, the ordinary pathway could be in flames.

Pacifico recommends that families establish a safe meeting place outside of the home, as communication becomes more difficult once a fire begins.

People should prepare and practice their fire escape plans twice a year, according to pamphlets from FEMA distributed at the event.

“Always know two ways out — it doesn’t even hurt to have a third,” said Captain Mark Maloney of Berlin Fire Co. No 1.

Children also had the opportunity to extinguish simulated flames, pretend to rescue fire victims, toil through tunnels and watch K-9 demonstrations.

They were also captivated with the department’s new quint fire truck, which arrived on Monday. The engine serves five functions — pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device and ground ladders.

“This year’s fire prevention night seems to be bigger and better than ever,” said Mayor Michael Mignogna. “Somewhere along the line, the kids are learning about fire prevention, So, you can have fun and learn at the same time. …I think our fire department does a wonderful job in educating kids. I’m very proud of everything they do.”

Aside from the Voorhees Township Fire Department, neighboring first responders from around the region participated in the informative festivities. Their invitation to the event mirrors the comradeship shared among firefighters across Camden County.

“We always support each other, neighboring towns — that’s why we’re here. That’s what fire service is all about — helping each other,” Maloney said. “Even if there’s a fire, we get called, they ask us to come. We help each other out . That’s what it’s all about — the brotherhood and sisterhood. …It’s like that throughout the whole county.”


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