This past weekend one of the local fire houses hosted an Open House. We've been to these kinds of events before, but never to this particular one, and it was by far the best I've been to. It was the 100th anniversary of the Niles firehouse so they may have purposely made it a bigger event.
Little Man loves firefighters and fire trucks, so we kept this a surprise for him. I thought about dressing him up in his firefighter costume, but it was really hot and that probably would have given it away. As we drove up, he saw all the different rescue vehicles parked out on the street, and got very excited about it.
They had a little obstacle course where you put on a firefighter uniform, picked a stuffed animal to "save" and zigzag through cones, get low and go through a tunnel and finally spray a hose on a little wooden house that had little wooden flaps with fire painted on them. Little Man loved that.
They had three demonstrations (of which we saw 2). For one they had built two little rooms with furniture, curtains, TV etc. One had sprinklers in the ceiling, the other did not. They set fire to the one without sprinklers first by igniting the curtains. The fire spread really quickly and the TV exploded. After putting it out, they lit up the one with sprinklers. The fire barely had a chance to get started before it was out. The firefighters didn't really have to do much in terms of extinguishing. Adults were all impressed what a difference the sprinklers make, and the kids were all upset that the TV didn't explode this time.
The second demonstration was an auto extrication - they cut and broke doors off of cars to show how they get victims out after a car accident. It was a little slow so the kids didn't enjoy that one as much, but the adults all thought it was pretty interesting. At that point we were all hot and tired so we headed home, but it was a fun day, and best of all it was free.