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West Chilton Fire hosts open house

The West Chilton Fire Department held an inaugural open house on May 20 with the goal of starting a tradition for many years to come.

The primary purpose of the event according to EMS chief Susan Smith was for the community and members of the department to interact with each other and build that relationship.

“We’re just trying to give back and get people more interested in coming around and seeing what we do,” Smith said. “We decided to do it this year, and just went all out.”

According to Smith, preparation for the event had been taking place for the past three months.

Activities for the kids were everywhere and wrapped around the fire department’s building.

Things to do included a dunking booth, kids swimming pool, inflatable bounce houses and various other water games.

The dunking booth was a fan favorite, as kids and adults tried to show off arm talent with the goal of hitting the target and dropping a fireman in a tank full of water.

“It’s great to see all the kids come out here and enjoy themselves,” fire chief Derek Abernathy said.

Tables were set up in the garage of the fire department with interactive games as well as valuable information about aspects of the job.

Blood pressure checks and registration into the nationally recognized Yellow Dot Program, a tool to help first responders, were some of the services provided.

Prizes were given away about every 10 minutes, as raffle tickets were drawn. Several sponsors provided the prizes and helped the event take place including Pepsi, Land Mart, Chilton Propane, Clanton Auto Parts, Active Tractor Equipment, Chilton County EMA, Amerex, Amy Santiago and Dennis Lawson.

Vernon Lee, chairman of the West Chilton Fire Department board, was on hand to make sure that everybody signed up and had their chance to be chosen.

“My biggest admiration is for the volunteer firemen,” Lee said. “There are a lot of guys and girls that put it [life] on the line every time they go out. It takes a special person.”

Hot dogs, chips and soda were available to everyone that stopped by the event.

“I’m tickled to death with the community around here and their continued support,” Lee said.