By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
ENID, Okla. —
Enid Fire Department will host open houses Saturday at all of its fire stations to kick off this year’s Fire Prevention Week.
Chief Joe Jackson said he wanted to give residents the chance to see what their tax dollars have provided the department.
The open houses will be 1-3 p.m., and light refreshments will be served.
This year, the department wants to show the public its appreciation for the support it’s shown through the public safety sales tax.
“It’s made a big difference in planning for our future, replacing apparatus, and I think it’s made us safer.” Jackson said. “It’s kind of made us the envy of the state.”
The public safety sales tax, a quarter-cent sales tax, was created by a vote of the public Feb. 13, 2001, to be split evenly between Enid fire and police departments.
At the time the tax was passed, Enid Fire Department had three fire engines that were more than 20 years old and were losing firefighters to better-paying departments.
In the 133 months the tax has been collected, the department has received $9,311,226. The ordinance requires at least 30 percent of money raised be used for capital purchases.
“As of July of this year, the fire department has spent almost 63 percent on capital purchases,” Jackson said. “We really want the public to know how much we appreciate them and their support.”
Since the inception of the tax, the department has purchased two engines and three grass rigs, as well as other vehicles and equipment.
Fire Prevention Weeks officially begins Sunday and lasts until Oct. 13. This year’s theme is “Be Rabbit Ready. Have Two Ways Out.”
The focus is to get parents and children to plan for two fire exits from each room of their home.
The department will take its Safety Trailer to each of the area elementary schools and have all third-graders go through the trailer. The department also will visit Pleasant Vale Elementary, Emmanuel Christian School, Chisholm Elementary School and St. Paul’s Lutheran School.
Kids and parents are encouraged to develop a fire escape plan for their homes and practice the plan at least twice: once during the day and once at night.
The annual coloring contest for kids from kindergarten to third grade also will be held. School winners will get T-shirts from Enid Fire Department, and one boy and one girl from Enid Public Schools will win a ride to school in a fire truck. One student from Pleasant Vale Elementary, Emmanuel Christian, Chisholm Elementary and St. Paul’s Lutheran also will win a ride to their school in a fire truck.