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Bedford firefighter Rob Peters shows what he might look like if encountered during a fire at the station's Open House on Tuesday. Kathy Remillard, Correspondent NH Union Leader/Sunday News (603) 529-6159 (KATHY REMILLARD/Union Leader Correspondent)

Bedford Fire's Open House provides basics of fire safety

BEDFORD - The focus was on education and fun at the Bedford Fire Department's Open House Tuesday.

October is Fire Prevention Month, and the Open House was part of a larger initiative that will include visits to the schools in town to talk to kids about fire safety, said Fire Chief Scott Wiggin.

'Kids will hopefully take that information back home with them,' Wiggin said, and talk about such topics as smoke alarms, escape routes and meeting places.

'To this day, we still go out and find homes without batteries in the smoke detectors, or no smoke detectors at all,' Wiggin said.

Wiggin said the evening provided a comfortable environment for members of the community to ask questions about the department, and also get a sense of what services their tax dollars support.

Kids had plenty to do, after sampling pizza provided by Papa Gino's.

An obstacle course, fire truck rides, a coloring contest and driving simulator were busy stations.

In the fire safety trailer, families learned what a home full of smoke looks like, and what to do in the event of a fire.

'They're learning how to put a towel in a door to keep the smoke out,' explained firefighter Jon Strong, who was stationed at the end of the unit, helping little ones out of a window.

Firefighter Dave Sherwood demonstrated the latest technology in EMS - an automated compression device used in CPR, which eliminates someone having to do chest compressions constantly.

The department purchased two of the devices in March, Sherwood said, and within 10 days of receiving them, staff responded to two cardiac arrest calls where they were used successfully.

'These devices really make a difference,' Sherwood said. 'We're lucky that administration went out of its way to get these.'

Firefighter Rob Peters showed off some of the turn out gear worn by firefighters, showing children what a fully uniformed firefighter looks like.

'When we're coming into a home, we want them to be familiar with us,' Peters said. 'I like the kids to approach me and touch the gear, so they're not afraid of it.'

Wiggin said education about fire prevention can't be stressed enough, and that there is a long-term benefit to ongoing education.

'The more they hear, the more they see, the more they retain,' Wiggin said.

Wiggin said the station often gives tours upon request, and wants the public to feel comfortable stopping by to say hello or ask questions.

'These doors are open all the time,' he said. 'People are more than welcome to stop by.'

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Kathy Remillard may be reached at

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