Dozens of families rode on a fire truck, explored numerous pieces of rescue equipment and learned fire safety techniques during an open house at Carlisle Fire Company of Milford on Sunday.
"I just heard about this today and decided to bring my kids here for something to do," said Milford resident Bryson Hazelip. "It's really cool and they're having a blast."
Fire Captain Shawn Hinton, who has been volunteering at Carlisle for nine years, said the annual event is a great way to engage the public during Fire Safety Awareness Month.
"It allows us to educate people about fire prevention while also showing the public what we do here," he said. "It's also a great way to let people know about all the mutual aid companies we work with, because it's not all about us. It takes a lot of people and some really good partnerships to do what we do."
In addition to numerous apparatus owned by Carlisle, the event from 1 to 4 p.m. also featured a Dagsboro Volunteer Fire Department trailer stocked with dive team equipment, Dover Air Force Base's educational Fire Safety House, a DNREC emergency response vehicle, the Sussex County Department of Emergency Services mobile command center and a Delaware State Police helicopter.
Inside the station, volunteers handed out goodie bags, fire safety pamphlets and free food.
Glenn Gillespie, the vice president of Carlisle Fire Co. and president of the State Fire Chiefs Association, said he hoped the event would help attract men and women interested in volunteering with the oldest fire company in Kent County and the third oldest department in the state.
"Joining an organization like your local fire company provides you with a degree of pride in knowing you are an invaluable part of your community," said Gillespie, a volunteer firefighter since 1972. "People look to you for help in their greatest time of need, whether they're ill, entangled in a traffic accident or watching everything in their world burn up in front of their eyes. It's a great responsibility and tremendously rewarding."
Founded in 1802, Carlisle provides emergency medical care and fire fighter services in a 42-square-mile area with two full-time employees, about 35 part-time emergency responders and roughly 125 volunteer firefighters. The company also is supported by a ladies' auxiliary.
To become a member, call 302-422-8001 or visit www.carlisle42.com.
Important dates in Carlisle Fire Co. history
1802: State legislature grants charter authorizing volunteer fire fighting organization in Milford.
1892: First water mains and fire plugs installed in Milford. Milford Fire Company receives hand-drawn hook and ladder truck.
1916: Fire company's $6,750 triple-combination fire truck arrives. Firefighters purchase their first uniforms and caps.
Page 2 of 2 - 1918: Milford Fire Co. renamed Carlisle Fire Co. in honor of Paris T. Carlisle IV, an active member who killed in action during World War I.
1921: Carlisle Fire Co. President C.E. "Charles" Varney is central figure behind establishment of State Fireman's Association.
1928: Firefighter Minos Scott killed while in route to a blaze, becoming the only line-of-duty death in Carlisle Fire Co.'s history.
1961: Carlisle member Vale Johnson named first president of the State Fire Police Association.
1978: Carlisle moves to current headquarters on Northwest Front St. from former location at intersection of Church and Southwest Front streets.
Source: Carlisle Fire Co. Vice President Glenn Gillespie and www.carlisle42.com