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Park Rapids Fire Department hosts family event

Held Saturday afternoon, June 19, the family-friendly event included a tour of fire trucks, a freewill donation lunch and life-saving demonstrations.

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Logan Hanisch, Chad Grande, Kyle Little and Andy Trudeau demonstrate a car extraction, using the Jaws of Life's strength as an emergency rescue tool. Within 15 minutes, they had stripped the vehicle of its roof and doors.

The Park Rapids Fire Department boasted new equipment at its 17th annual open house.

Held Saturday afternoon, the family-friendly event included a tour of fire trucks, a freewill donation lunch and life-saving demonstrations.

Smokey Bear even made a couple appearances.

Firefighter Crystal Krautkremer said the shindig is an opportunity for the public to see what the 26 volunteer firefighters have to offer.

A table full of unique firefighting tools and gear was informative for adults and kids alike, she said. Case in point, she held up a halligan. “It’s unique to the fire service, but it’s one of our most versatile tools,” Krautkremer said. “Obviously, it has the crow bar end, but it’s also got the end for when we have to poke into walls to search for the fire. We use it on extrication to beat in the cribbing – the wood under the vehicle to stabilize it. We use it for a ton of different applications.”

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Among the new gear is a Stokes basket, used for lifting or dragging a victim out of a high-angle rescue.

The department sported new helmets with shields and identification. They are especially useful on multi-agency calls, Krautkremer said.

And thanks to a Wolf Lake contribution, they also have a grass rig with the ability to pull an ATV on a trailer. “That is our newest truck, so far,” she said.

The fire crew showed the crowd how they perform car extrications.

“We cut up one car to show the different ways of extricating a patient – whether it's stabilizing the vehicle, taking the doors off, removing the roof or peeling apart the dash and doing a dash roll,” Krautkremer explained.

They also taught visitors how to properly use a fire extinguisher. The acronym is PASS for pull, aim, squeeze and sweep.

Burn restrictions

Hubbard County is currently under burn restrictions.

Permits are not being issued for brush or yard waste. No opening burning is allowed.

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No fireworks may be ignited on any public or private land outside city limits and campfires are allowed only in an established fire ring associated with a home, campground or resort.

The burning restrictions will remain in effect until terminated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources commissioner when weather and environmental conditions indicate a reduction in fire danger.

Low humidity, wind and dry conditions have kept the risk of fire elevated late into June.

“We’ve been watching it,” Krautkremer said.

“It’s on the back of our mind every minute,” agreed firefighter Kyle Little.

“It’s a scary time right now,” Krautkremer said. “This is the worst drought we’ve had in a long time.”

Little held out a digital map showing the significant amount of fire fuels across the state, as of June 10. “It’s a huge band,” he said. “Everything further southwest of us is just as bad. Statewide, that’s as bad as it gets. A local forester said this is the worst he’s seen in his career at this time of year.”

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Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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