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Column: FireFest coming soon

Posted: September 12, 2018 2:23 p.m.
Updated: September 14, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Each fall, our Camden Fire Department (CFD) organizes a terrific, family-friendly event that is free and open to the community. If you have yet to attend this event at the City Arena, I urge you to be there on Saturday, September 29th for the 23rd Annual FireFest.

This event serves two purposes: to promote awareness about fire and life safety practices in a fun setting, and to provide the emergency responders from around our county an opportunity to get to know each other, before we meet on an emergency scene.

Camden FireFest brings a sense of community and pride to our city that is unique to others.

From the popular “side by side” burn demonstration, which is meant to show parents how quickly a fire can spread in the home, and why working smoke detectors and sprinkler systems are so important, to the Kids Zone, which allows our “future firefighters” to test their skills, this event is meant for everyone in our community to learn from and enjoy.

It is also an opportunity for our Junior Explorers from the region to “show their stuff” during Explorer competitions that mimic real-life situations firefighters face every day.

FireFest will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 29, with a parade of new and antique fire trucks and emergency vehicles. The parade begins at Fire Station 1, next to city hall, travels down Rutledge and Broad streets, ending at the City Arena. Activities at the Arena run from approximately 9:30 a.m. through 2 p.m., and will include a chance to meet special guest Richland County Sheriff’s Department Lieutenant Danny Brown from “Live PD.”

While FireFest is meant to be a fun, family-friendly event for all to enjoy, it is important to remember that it is also the CFD’s kickoff for National Fire Safety Month, which occurs every October, and National Fire Prevention Week, which begins Sunday, October 7 this year. This year, the theme of Fire Prevention Week is “Look. Listen. Learn. Be aware -- fire can happen anywhere.”

According to Camden Fire Chief John Bowers, this year’s theme identifies the very basic but vital ways to reduce risk of a fire and be prepared in the event of one: look for places where a fire could start, listen for the sound of the smoke alarm, and learn two ways out of each room.  In a fire, seconds can mean the difference between life and death. Be aware that fires can and do still happen -- in your home, as well as other locations. Take these important steps to remain safe.

If you ever have any questions or concerns about fire safety in your home, I encourage you to call the CFD at (803) 425-6042. They will check your home for fire hazards and test your smoke alarms free of charge. And I hope you will join me in celebrating our first responders on Saturday, September 29 at the 23rd Annual FireFest and Parade.

Also on November 1-3, the CFD will host their annual “Fill the Boot” campaign. The Campaign, usually held on Labor Day weekend, was postponed due to roadwork at the Broad Street and DeKalb Street intersection. Last year’s total was 14,086.89, a little down due to rain, getting only two full days in instead of three.

Funds raised through 2018 Camden Fill the Boot event build on decades of research progress, helping push science to its limits in the search for treatments and cures for muscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other related life-threatening diseases that take away people’s ability to walk, move, smile, talk and even breathe.

Dollars raised also help support MDA’s life-enhancing programs such as state-of-the-art care centers, including the MDA Care Center at Georgia Regents University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia and Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte, N.C. They also make MDA summer camp possible so kids with muscle disease can enjoy “the best week of the year” at Camp Twin Lakes and nearly 80 other locations nationwide. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/camdenfirefest.

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