'You can get it in a book, but it's not the same as seeing it'
Alburtis Volunteer Fire Department recently held their annual open house educating citizens about some of the situations they regularly encounter.
Fire safety demonstrations were given throughout the day including extinguishing a live grease fire, putting out a Christmas tree fire and executing a rooftop rescue. They also showed an automobile rescue using the Jaws of Life and home safety demonstrations in the "Family Safety House" portable trailer.
Macungie Ambulance Corps members Ryan Trexler (also Alburtis' second assistant fire chief), Andrew Miller and Adam Wilson gave a LUCAS 2 demonstration of a cardiac arrest rescue. LUCAS 2 can do 100 two-inch deep CPR chest compressions per minute with no human assistance and never gets tired. If done by hand, two people should work together to relieve each other as it does get tiring.
While the demonstrations were going on outside, inside the firehouse the Macungie Ambulance Corps and Officer Summy, of the Alburtis Police Department, had tables set up full of informational handouts. There was also a video display showing the department's 2011 open house.
Michael and Jisela Starr, of Alburtis, were there with their children Jillian, Isabel, Ethan, Alyssa and Serena to fulfill the state fire safety requirements of home schooling.
"You can get it all in a book but it's not the same as seeing it simulated and handling everything," Jisela Starr said.
She said it was very educational "seeing what happens in a car accident and helping the children experience [firefighter's response] in an emergency."
Starr said she also wanted her children to be around members of the fire department and police officers so they would not be afraid of them in an emergency situation.
Thirty-five of 48 members of the Alburtis Volunteer Fire Department are active and their membership is growing every year. Training and meeting 52 weeks a year, the firefighters and fire police stand ready to handle emergencies that can interrupt or change people's lives forever. While ordinary people become terrified and run from tragedy, these highly trained firefighters swiftly and boldly rush to the scene.
Working and training as hard and as often as they do, firefighters and fire police develop a deep and transcendent bonding relationship with each other.
In 2011, they responded to calls in Alburtis and Macungie boroughs and the townships of Lower Macungie, Upper Macungie, Upper Milford, Salisbury, South Whitehall, Weisenberg, and Longswamp.
Alburtis is now covering parts of Lower Macungie Township and responds with mutual aid to Lower and Upper Macungie townships and Longswamp Township in Berks County.