Rockton Fire provides education, protection, and fun


Anakin James and Roman Markus had fun at the Fire Prevention Week open house at Rockton Fire Protection District on Sunday, Oct. 15 at an open house where fire safety was at the forefront of education.

In honor of National Fire Prevention Week, the Rockton Fire Protection District had an open house on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023. At the forefront of the event was education on fire safety.

Every day residents in Rockton have the knowledge and confidence that the Rockton Fire Protection District is ready to handle emergency situations. The department responds to fire, medical, hazardous material response, and rescue emergencies.

Public education is a very important part of the fire district's mission.

Life saving measures are taken every day by the brave heroes of this and all departments across the country.

At the open house, families had loads of fun with fire ladder bucket rides, tours of fire trucks or emergency vehicles, and a water hose activity. Young ones learned what different pressures feel like when pulling back on the water hose.

Fire department professionals were on hand to give out stickers, clips, pens, key chains, ice packs, erasers, suckers and escape plans.

Members of the Rockton Fire Association had t-shirts for sale. They served hot dogs along with beverages.

Fire fighters demonstrated technical rescue as they used a life safety rope to climb down a wall.

Rope climbing is just one of six disciplines that are part of technical rescue. Confined space, vehicle extrication equipment, structural collapse, trench rescue, and water-dive rescue cover a full scope of extra measures used to save a life.

"We have thousands of hours in dive rescue training. Our training is phenomenal," Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said.

The RFPD extends safety to the community through a lock box program. This program started in 2006. The district has continued to provide access key lock boxes for residents that may have limited mobility. By mounting a secure lock box on your home, first responders will be able to get to you quickly during an emergency even if you're unable to come to the door. It also reduces damage to your home because responders won't need to force entry. The fire department is the only one who will know the combination.

Lock boxes are free to residents who live in the district and would benefit from having one. If you're interested, call the station at 815-624-6010.

Paramedic Mary Kiser talked to visitors and demonstrated proper procedures of giving CPR. She also showed how the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) works. The AED is a medical device designed to analyze the heart rhythm and to deliver an electric shock to victims of sudden cardiac arrest to restore the heart rhythm back to normal.

First aid and CPR classes are free to residents or $40 to anyone outside the area who would like to take the course. Dates of available classes and full information are on the Rockton Fire Protection District website. The next classes, Heartsaver CPR / AED for the Community and Pediatric First Aid, will be Nov. 12, 2023.

“We do more than putting wet stuff on the red stuff,” Chief Wilson said.

During Homecoming at Hononegah Community High School, the fire department was on hand to oversee the bonfire. This assured that the public is kept safe while enjoying this long time tradition.

Over the years the department has welcomed visitors from local schools, clubs and organizations to learn about different areas the department covers.

In September they participated in a Lunch and Learn event at HCHS.

RFPD often partners with community organizations such as the Roscoe Rockton Rotary where they were winners at the 2023 Rib Fest. They are also an integral part of Blues and BBQ events.

Fire Prevention Week was started by the National Fire Protection Association, (NFPA) in 1922 to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

The Great Chicago Fire burned between Oct. 8-10, with most of the damage done on Oct. 9. The fire caused roughly $200 million in damages, and killed around 300 people. Over 17,000 buildings and structures were destroyed. According to legend, the fire started when a cow kicked over a lantern in the O'Leary barn, though many historians doubt that today. Today the Chicago Fire Training Academy sits on what was once the O'Leary property.

In 1925 President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed the first National Fire Prevention Week to occur from Oct. 4 through Oct. 10.

The main purpose of the week is to teach both children and adults how to stay safe in the event of a fire.

Zoey and Zayden Getfield were greeted by members of Rockton Fire Protection District on Sunday, Oct. 15 at an open house where fire safety was at the forefront of education.
Ladder truck rides were a popular attraction at the open house.
Paramedic Mary Kiser educated the public on CPR and AED procedures.
Deputy Fire Chief Tim Free demonstrated how firefighters use the life safety rope.
Cora and Mack visited the open house where they picked up fire hats at the giveaway table.
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