All are welcome at the Fire Hall in Little Falls
By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
Morrison County will hold it’s third community get-together in observance of “National Night Out,” Tuesday, although many areas in the state celebrated the evening, Aug. 6.
Little Falls Police Chief Greg Schirmers, who initiated the first annual event, said Morrison County’s event is held a week later, to coordinate with the Little Falls Fire Department’s training schedule and to ensure that helicopters that may be at other events, are available for this one.
That night, from 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Little Falls Fire Hall, county residents can meet and get to know the people who make up the public safety agencies that serve them on a more personal level.
Little Falls firemen will grill hot dogs and residents can see not only public safety personnel, but the equipment they use, such as fire trucks, police and sheriff’s cars, ambulances, helicopters and equipment worn by the SWAT team.
This year, the Department of Natural Resources will be on hand with demonstrations using the “J5,” a vehicle that goes through swamps to fight wild fires.
Another demonstration residents can look forward to is watching an extrication demonstration, said Little Falls Fire Chief Mike Nieman.
With three cars to work with, firefighters will pry doors and roofs off of the vehicles, to show what they do to get people out in dangerous situations.
“We try to switch demonstrations around,” said Nieman. Last year, firefighters demonstrated how easily a kitchen fire could start, having the portable kitchen in flames in no time.
All the food will be provided by Coborn’s and Walmart.
“Coborn’s and Walmart should be given a big round of applause, because they provide the food,” said Nieman.
Last year, more than 700 people attended the event. Nieman estimated between 500 – 600 people were served.
New for kids this year are bouncy houses they can play on, and a bicycle safety clinic where some free bicycle helmets will be given away. Volunteers will be on hand to paint faces, an old favorite.
Little Falls Police Sgt. Craig Seelen said the display will include Hands of Hope, Public Health, Stand Up 4 U, the Morrison County Chaplain and the Boys and Girls Club.
Seelen, who is spearheading the event with Nieman, said, “I think it brings the community together and gets the public involved with helping them better understand what we do.”
He said the event helps the public get acquainted with what public safety personnel does and allows them to get comfortable with what they do and the services they provide.
“I think it’s a good night for everybody to come out and get to know us and for us to get to know them,” said Seelen. “It’s usually a good time and the more that come out, the better success it is.”
The Little Falls Fire Hall is located at 314 First St. N.E. Everyone is invited, if for nothing else, for a free hot dog.