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Polk hosts fire safety night

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    Polk firefighter Gary Huber shows a thermal imaging camera to 6-year-old Natalee Fentzlaff and 4-year-old Kali-Ann Fentzlaff Dyckman during Polk Township Volunteer Fire Company’s open house and fire safety event. STACI L. GOWER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS

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    Albrightsville firefighter Stephen King assists 6-year-old Paulie Alvarez with her exit from the smokehouse. She had to crawl through a smoky corridor with a fire alarm ringing and escape through a window during Polk Township Volunteer Fire Company’s event.

Published October 30. 2019 12:16PM

Polk Township Volunteer Fire Company held its annual fire safety event recently.

“People can practice fire safety. Hopefully what children learn here and at school events, they take home to tell their parents,” said Rick Sherer, deputy chief. “The most important thing when there is a house fire is to go outside and stay there.”

The crowd of attendees saw Polk’s apparatus lined up in the parking lot, along with an West End Community Ambulance, Pennsylvania State Police vehicle and Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Company’s smoke house trailer.

Those who ventured inside the smoke house could smell the actual smoke billowing throughout the trailer and hear the constant sounding of the fire alarm. The back window was their escape point, where a firefighter was waiting to help them climb down the ladder.

“It’s exciting and a bit scary. You have to crawl and listen to the person’s instruction to help you get out safely,” said 6-year-old Paulie Alvarez after her third time through.

Her mom, Maria Santafiore, also went through the trailer and called it “terrifying and disorienting.”

Dylan Haydt, dressed as the Dalmatian mascot, greeted guests with a hug and bounced balloons back and forth with the kids.

“This event is good for community relations,” said fire Chief Billy Tippett. “They see our faces and names. We put on the mask, so the kids aren’t afraid when they see us.”

Inside the firehouse, firefighter Gary Huber had gear and tools set on a table and demonstrated how to put on his fire gear.

He did it slowly so children and adults could see what is involved. He started with his pants and boots and ended with his helmet. It took him several minutes to get ready.

In an actual emergency, “It’s put on and zipped up quickly. While the truck is driving to the scene, I am getting ready to get you out of the house,” he told sisters Natalee Fentzlaff and Kali-Ann Fentzlaff Dyckman.

He also showed them a thermal imaging camera and explained how to find hot spots.

In the field, four firefighters demonstrated how to use the Jaws of Life and other tools on a mangled Chevrolet Cobalt. They simulated how they would rescue car crash victims.

There was no one inside the car as they tore off its doors, broke the glass, removed the roof and pushed the dash away.

A crowd of 25 stayed on the other side of the yellow caution tape. Assistant Chief Derrick Burger explained each step as they watched.

“For the new guys, this is a perfect time to do a training exercise. They are still learning and have time to practice,” Burger said.

At another table outside, a dispatcher from Monroe County Control Center showed guests how to use the plug-in automated phone system to report an emergency. The voice asked questions such as your name, address, phone number and type of emergency.

“This event was awesome. It is great to see the equipment and meet the firefighters,” Debra Laporta said.

For more information about the fire department, go to

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