Gwen Gray helps her brother, Gabe, try on some firefighter gear.
story and photos by Ann Fowler
OAK HILL – Few things say Americana like a fire station’s open house. Small children flash their brightest smiles as they sit in the driver’s seat of a fire engine. And so it was on Saturday, October 15, when Fire Chief Gary Warren and a dozen Oak Hill and Westlake firefighters welcomed residents who stopped by the Oak Hill fire station on Circle Drive for a snack, a fire station tour, and/or a 10-minute CPR course.
Robert Gray brought his grandchildren, saying, “We come every year.”
EMT Nick Schminke dressed out in full gear and invited visiting children to try on fire boots, a turnout coat and fire helmet. Firefighter Ross Lemke helped kids into firefighting gear.
Chris Montgomery with the Austin/Travis County EMS taught a 10-minute CPR course to anyone with a few minutes to learn. He stressed the three Cs:
• Check for breathing
• Call for help
• Compressions until help arrives
Montgomery also had students try an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) found in many public buildings. The instructions were simple and appeared foolproof.
“You can take the four-hour CPR course,” he told students. “That’s still available. But a year later, you’ll probably only remember 10 minutes. This is the 10 minutes we want you to remember,” he said.
For visiting children, climbing on the fire trucks and holding the steering wheel of a fire engine were highlights. Young Peyton Luckett has been interested in all things related to firefighting since he saw a demonstration at his school.
Oak Hill firefighter Chad Kubin finished his shift, then brought his children, Calyn and Troy, to enjoy the open house.
Some of the children, like the Grays and the Hakims, participated in the CPR classes by trying compressions or inspecting the AED. Perhaps someday one — or more — of these children will grow up to be firefighters and inspire a younger generation of children visiting an open house.