Having fun with the firefighters: The Provo City services fair

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[media-credit name=”Chris Bunker” align=”alignleft” width=”300″][/media-credit]
Drew Olson helps kids work a fire hose at Monday's Provo Services Fair at Provo Towne Centre.
It’s not everyday one gets to shoot water from a fireman’s hose, ascend the top of a bucket ladder, see the inside of an airplane cockpit or even witness a helicopter land.

All of those events, and more, were available Monday at the annual Provo City Services Fair. The purpose of the fair varied from booth to booth as the services showed all the different ways in which they could help the community.

There was a booth which helped citizens learn more about the importance of the environment, another promoting the new non-emergency, Provo information phone number of 311, another with information about public transport within the city and more.

Even though the fair was cut short because of a storm, the show went on. The fair, held at the Provo Towne Centre Mall carpark, was a chance to enjoy the great services the city has to offer. Citizens afforded a more hands-on experience with the city services, were able to really appreciate all Provo has to offer.

The Municipal Council manned the first booth and greeted the public with a complimentary bag and drink bottle featuring a new logo for Provo. Council member Bryce Mumford said the fair was “a great opportunity to come out and see what the City of Provo has to offer,” Mumford said. “The Municipal Council just wants people to know that if there is any situation that you would like to talk to a council member about we are always here and listening. That’s our primary objective, to do what the citizens want us to do. We want to have a solid impact on the community for good.”

While other Provo City’s services were represented at the fair, the Fire Department was the rockstars at the event.

The Fire Department brought along an apparatus called the “Propane Tree,” a structure made of pipes exuding propane gas. The Propane Tree was used as an exhibition of how the fire department fights fires. When lit, the warmth from the fire coming from the tree could be felt from 50–100 feet away.

Seven firefighters were stationed on a single firehose, three on each side and one director, as they moved slowly and carefully closer to the fire. Sam Armstrong, a nine-year member of the Provo Fire Department, explained the plan to put the fire out. “Instead of having a straight stream that hits the fire and puts it out, what it does instead is it is a sort of  fan-cone that pushes the fire away from you,” Armstrong said. “It doesn’t necessarily put fire out; it just keeps them protected like a shield.”

After pushing the fire away from them, the director bends down and shuts off the gas line at the source. “By letting it burn until we can turn it off we burn off any potential for a Hazmat (hazardous material) scene,” Armstrong said.

The fire, at its source, can be upwards of 1200 degrees, and any wrong move could spell danger.

The Fire Department also allowed people to man a firehose. Although the pressure from the hose wasn’t as strong, a firefighter was still on hand at all times to assist, as the pressure was easily enough to knock over a child. Armstrong said children were holding a firehose shooting at 50 PSI, while the pressure used against the propane tree was around 150–200 PSI.

The Fire Department allowed a hands-on experience so everyone could see the daily happenings of a Provo City Firefighter. “It’s a great way to show off our firefighting skills, show what the guys do,” Armstrong said. “We want everybody to understand the capability the Provo Fire Department has and that we are here representing the city.”

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