By Kaylee Lindenmuth | firstname.lastname@example.org
GIRARDVILLE - Girardville's public services -- the fire, police, and streets department and the ambulance -- held their third annual National Night Out event on the grounds of the Rangers Fire Company on Thursday.
The event, which helps children and adults alike learn about the different departments and interact with their personnel, is especially important for helping residents know who their emergency service members are, according to Rangers Lieutenant Michael Zangari.
"We have such an influx of new people [in Girardville,] that they may not know us. If you took this back ten years from today, you knew a lot of the residents, they said 'Oh yep, that's so-and-so from the firehouse,' and they knew who it was," said Zangari. "Today, people don't know who we are and we don't know who they are."
"Half of this battle is just getting out and putting names with faces and who you are and where you're from," Zangari added. "It makes the job a lot easier at three in the morning when we're knocking on the door saying 'Hello, I'm Michael from the fire department, you need to get out of your home.'"
The event featured tours of apparatus, an obstacle course which Zangari said provided a "PG" view at what firefighters might face in the field -- crawling through confined spaces, laying hoseline, rescuing a victim, and, of course, extinguishing a fire.
"They also get a badge here that we laminate, and it has a pin on it. Every kid gets a snack, a hot dog, and a drink, at least we know everyone's getting something to eat today and stays hydrated," Zangari said. "They can also dress up like a firefighter, get the feel of what it's like, and they see themselves in our gear, so they're not as scared when they see us show up to their residence."
Both Girardville fire companies displayed their apparatus and equipment at the event, as did the Girardville Police Department, Girardville Ambulance, and Girardville Streets Department. The fire department also distributed informational materials, as did the Schuylkill Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance.
Zangari added that he hopes the event might convince a local child to join the fire service.
"You always hope you get that one kid where it sends a light bulb up and they decide they want to do this one day, and then when they're 14, they join as a junior, and when they're 18, they join and become a regular interior firefighter," said Zangari. "You hope you hit one kid. If you get one kid that says 'Yep, I'm going to do it,' that's a win for us right there."
Girardville has hosted the event the past two years, first in August 2017 for National Night Out, and last year, they combined it with their fire prevention program in October.
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