AUGUSTA — Local firefighters will kick off Fire Prevention Week on Sunday in downtown Augusta with family-friendly opportunities to check out firetrucks, watch a helicopter scoop and drop water out of the Kennebec River while on the move, and see cars torn apart by rescue workers armed with the Jaws of Life extrication tool.

Among the fire and rescue vehicles on display at the “touch a truck” event will be a replica of one that was featured in the 1970s television show “Emergency!” The replica of the rescue truck driven by the show’s stars, Squad 51, was built by Ron Morin, of Sugarloaf Ambulance/Rescue Vehicles in Wilton.

Augusta Fire Chief Roger Audette said the Squad 51 replica will be in Augusta for Sunday’s event from noon to 3 p.m.

The event itself runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Front Street alongside the Kennebec River in downtown Augusta.

Around noon, a Maine Forest Service helicopter and crew will demonstrate how the chopper is used to fight forest fires by, while in flight, dropping a bucket into the Kennebec River, filling it, and dumping it back out into the river, as it would on a burning forest fire. Audette noted that part of the event depends on the weather, and on the helicopter not being needed elsewhere that day to fight a forest fire.

Area departments including those in Winthrop, Hallowell, Chelsea, Pittston, Randolph and Monmouth are expected to join Augusta Fire and Rescue, with both current and antique firetrucks to display. Equipment from the Maine Forest Service and Office of State Fire Marshall also will be on hand.

During the event, rescue workers also will demonstrate how Jaws of Life equipment is used to remove accident victims from crashed cars.

Fire prevention mascots Smokey Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog will be on hand. Free fire prevention materials — including hats — will be available.

American Red Cross and Salvation Army representatives are expected to be on hand, and there will be children’s activities throughout the event.

Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 9 to 16.

“Typically we’ve had an open house for Fire Prevention Week,” Audette said. “This year we thought we’d do something downtown, where there is more room, and invite fire departments from all over central Maine. We hope people will come and enjoy the day.”

Audette said the week is a good time to remind people to make sure their homes are safe and they have working smoke detectors.


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