The community was treated to emergency preparedness tips and fire prevention knowledge during Anaheim Fire & Rescue’s Wildfire Preparedness Community Fair on Saturday, April 27.
The event, held outside Anaheim Fire & Rescue Station 10 along Monte Vista Drive in Anaheim Hills, featured more than a dozen booths manned by fire department staff, volunteers, and others who shared their knowledge and offered pamphlets. Fair attendees were able to get stamps on paper passports throughout their visits to the booths, which offered information from Anaheim Fire & Rescue, Anaheim Public Utilities, ReadyOC, and some vendors. Families also enjoyed face painting, pictures with Smokey Bear, fire truck demonstrations, free food, and raffle prizes of emergency and safety equipment.
Community Risk Reduction Officer Justin Day of Anaheim Fire & Rescue told attendees about the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), an area where houses intermingle with undeveloped wildland vegetation. He advised installing tempered windows, steel doors, fire-resistant siding, a fire-resistant roof, and boxed-in eaves.
“We ultimately want to push hardening your home against fires,” Day said.
Part of Day’s pitch was showing the Wildfire Preparedness Demonstration House, which was installed in 2017 outside Station 10. The house shows ideal construction methods for homes in wildfire-prone areas.
George J. Sherry, an 85-year-old retired Boeing engineer from Yorba Linda, was there to demonstrate the products of his fledgling company, Embers Out LLC.
Embers Out makes filters that, when applied over gables, soffits, foundations, roof vents or frieze boards, can provide protection from embers, high winds, wind-driven rains, sand, debris, insects, and snow. The company’s products are certified by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Sherry noted that most home ventilation equipment was not designed with protection in mind.
“Homes are so vulnerable,” he said. “There are people losing everything because their home’s equipment is inadequate. These products will save lives.”
Employees from the nearby Home Depot Superstore were on hand to show products that can save lives in an emergency, such as two- and three-story escape ladders, fire guards for chimneys, and a fire-blocking spray that can be used to protect attics.
Angie Gomez and her team from Project S.A.Y. (Support Anaheim’s Youth) were at the fair doing face painting for children.
“It’s all about building community,” Gomez said. “Being here promotes a good relationship between the community and the city.”
Anaheim Public Utilities, which provides Anaheim’s water and electricity, told fair attendees about fire threat zones and new cameras that will be on the lookout in remote areas for fire threats.
They also let people know about a firescaping class on May 18 at the East Anaheim Community Center. The class will offer advice from a horticulture expert on landscape design that reduces the vulnerability of a home to wildfire.
Anaheim Fire Explorers helped small children try on adult-size firefighter gear like a jacket, helmet, and boots. Angel Meta, 5, of Anaheim was among the kids with huge smiles on their faces as they tried to hold themselves up in the big firefighter clothes.
Meanwhile, the Basterrechea family of Yorba Linda brought their own firefighter with them: their 3-year-old son Luke. He came dressed as a ready-to-go firefighter in a full kid’s suit complete with a hat and plastic axe.
“It’s his second day in his firefighter outfit,” said Katie Basterrechea, Luke’s mother, who was pushing around a stroller holding their 2-month-old daughter Nora.
Luke’s father, Derek, said they were there to learn more about fire safety in general.
As for Luke, Katie thinks she knows what he wants to be when he grows up: “He wants to be a firefighter, so he says!”