CMBA members donated labor, materials and funds, as they did for
the Clemens Gift Shop project to construct one of the few firesafe
homes in Minnesota. The one-level, 8-by-24 mobile trailer unit,
resembling a home inside, illustrates several fire and safety hazards.
The CMBA donated the home to the 13 fire and rescue departments
in the Central Minnesota Mutual Aid Association.
Before the CMBA undertook the project, the closest firesafe home
was located in Hutchinson, but Mutual Aid members have traveled
as far as Bloomington to rent one, typically for more than $200
per day. Members of the Central Minnesota Mutual Aid Association
now not only save the money they once spent on rent, but are able
to rent firesafe home to other interested groups, said Dave Theisen,
St. Joseph fire chief.
don't know if you can put a value on the benefits this will provide
to us and the public," said Theisen, whose department is currently
storing the home.
The firesafe home will travel to elementary schools, day care facilities
and community organizations. In some cases, the home will be featured
at venues like grocery stores to increase public awareness.
Firefighters and rescue personnel will staff the home at each site. Visitors begin their tour outside
where firefighting equipment is displayed, along with the remnants of household
items retrieved from fires.
"We'll have clothing, a computer screen and a melted telephone. Some
children's toys also get the attention of young visitors," Theisen
Breaking into groups of 10, visitors will enter the kitchen area of the
home to learn about frayed electrical cords and overloaded circuits, placement
of fire extinguishers and smoke alarms and safe places to store kitchen
towels and potholders.
In the bedroom and bath areas, visitors will learn about the dangers of
scalding, how to treat burns and what to do if they find matches or other
hazardous materials. Tour guides will discuss how to check closed doors
for heat and the importance of a central meeting place outside the home
during a fire emergency.
Visitor counts in the thousands are anticipated, Theisen said. "There
is no doubt that this will be a frequently used tool. If we can get to children
young enough, they will take this knowledge home to their parents. But even
adults will find things that make them take a second look."
More information about planned appearances of the firesafe home
is available by contacting Dave Theisen, 320-363-4234.