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Firefighters putting safety on display

Rescues by land, air and sea are some of the safety demonstrations that Citrus County volunteer firefighters will explain as they show equipment from area fire stations Saturday, which county firefighters have declared Fire Prevention and Awareness Day.

Among the activities will be a demonstration of the Jaws of Life extraction device on a car donated by Dale's Auto Parts and Salvage of Homosassa and the Hazmat trailer with explanations of the handling of hazardous materials.

"We want to show people what we have and what we can do," said Capt. Ed Foster of the Homosassa Volunteer Fire Department and chairman of the organizing committee for the Citrus County Firefighter Association Inc., which is sponsoring the event.

"The volunteers in the county sometimes get negative reactions, and we want to dispel this. We also want to get out the message of fire prevention awareness."

The group will set up equipment at the Plantation Inn field at U.S. 19 and State Road 44 W Saturday and will give hourly fire and safety demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Foster said the displays would come from local fire departments, including a ladder truck from Homosassa, Rescue Truck 133 from Crystal River, Tanker 47 from DeRosa, Fire Engine 89 from Highlands and the Water Quick Response Vehicle airboat from Chassahowitzka.

Visitors will learn how to use fire extinguishers by watching demonstrations in which volunteers extinguish fires set in drums.

Toby Klein, an EMT with the Chassahowitzka Volunteer Fire Department, said the St. Joseph's Careflight unit will make a landing at the field sometime during the day, depending on when they have time between emergency calls.

"We want people to know this service is available in this area and is very important during the "golden hour' for trauma victims," he said. "That's the one hour after an accident when there is a trauma to a person's body and a need for great speed to move the person to a hospital."

Foster said there will be no set schedule for demonstrations, and people are welcome to inspect the equipment and ask the firefighters questions throughout the day.

Refreshments will be available, and children will be free to visit with Smokey Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog.

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