East Lansing’s Fire Department celebrated 100 years of service on Aug. 12 by inviting the community to an open house. Multiple vehicles were available to tour, gear was offered to try on, and safety demonstrations were held throughout the event.
There were about a dozen firefighters, along with volunteers, manning booths about different aspects of the job and answering questions from the community. The department’s safety training officer, Olivia Skowronek, said she enjoys the opportunity to show her family and friends the work she does.
“I like that the community gets the opportunity to see us outside of an emergency situation,” said Skowronek. “Usually when people see us they’re having the worst moment of their lives.”
Fun was highlighted in this setting as kids were allowed to try on uniforms, spray fire hoses, and food/drinks were offered for free. This light hearted environment encouraged learning as well with officers demonstrating a vehicle extraction and a rope rescue.
Community members in attendance at the event were mainly parents and their kids. Alicia Barajas is a mother to a young daughter who is fascinated by fire trucks and brought her to the open house.
“My sister is a 911 dispatcher here and told me I should bring my daughter,” said Barajas. “Everyone’s been super nice and showed her anything she wanted to see, especially the fire truck.”
Firefighters in attendance ranged from newly hired cadets to seasoned professionals. Despite the range in years of service, the firefighters were all engaging in conversations with attendees. Lauren Gauthier, a new hire at the East Lansing Fire Department, was happy to discuss all things tech at the department.
“I worked in Lansing Township and then Meridian for a bit before coming to East Lansing, but this is definitely the biggest department I’ve worked for so far,” said Gauthier. “We have newer technology here that you wouldn’t see in those other departments and all of us are well versed in it.”
Gauthier described the benefits of all members of this department being certified EMTs, being engineers of the vehicles, and more of her favorite aspects of working for East Lansing.
According to the City of East Lansing’s website, the fire department’s mission is to “preserve and protect life and property through preparation, education, and implementation.” Check out the site for a list of resources that offers recent safety news and information.