Dark clouds and blustery winds threatened rain all morning but at precisely one o'clock the skies cleared, the sun came out and over 300 people took part in Honey Brook Fire Company's Saturday open house. Those that braved the winds saw a spectacular show of fire fighting apparatus and demonstrations along with a feast of cookies, ice cream, cotton candy and other refreshments.
Lacie Santiago, 11, of Honey Brook, got the chance to use a fire extinguisher, releasing great, white clouds of extinguishing agent at a kerosene fire set in a cut-off bucket.
When not making cotton candy for the hungry crowds, firefighter and EMT student Jesse Huff-man took questions on the correct way to use a fire extinguisher. "The proper way is to sweep the fire, not aim at the base of the flame. Sweep like you're sweeping a floor," he said.
Joseph Boswell, 14, also of Honey Brook, heard the arrival of Brandywine Hospital's white and red Sky Flight Care helicopter as it roared in low over the treetops and came running. "It was pretty cool!" he said.
At roughly $5,000, a ride in the helicopter does not come cheap but it is fast. The helicopter travels at between 150 and 175 miles an hour. "We just got here from Kennett Square," said Flight Paramedic Charles Bortle. "The trip took only 8 minutes."
Across from the carnival grounds, a team began pre-paring a maroon Subaru Impreza for a vehicle extrication demonstration. Barry Messner, captain of the Honey Brook Fire Com-pany, narrated as Honey Brook and Twin Valley rescue personnel began cutting apart the car to reach a "victim" trapped inside. The part of the victim was gamely played by a firefighter from Martin's Corner.
"Before anything else is done, we make an assessment," said Messner. "Is there any oil or gas leaking? Next, the car is stabilized with wood blocks and jacks." Any movement of the vehicle could aggravate injuries to the individual in the car. Meanwhile, an EMS team begins to evaluate and stabilize the patient.
In all, there can be as many as 11 or 12 people working on or around the car, popping off doors, cutting off the roof, or lifting the dash. Though the scene can look like the inside of a beehive, "There's no reckless cutting," says Messner. "It's all done slowly and methodically and it's all planned out. It's all done for the safety of the patient."
After about fifteen minutes, the patient was re-moved from the vehicle and placed on a waiting stretcher. The crowd burst into applause.
As people began to disperse to examine the fire trucks and chat with the fire fighters, there was a great deal of appreciation ex-pressed for the men and women who sacrifice so much for the community.
Dorothy Barrage, who has 12 brothers and sisters in the fire company, had brought her grandchildren in from Pennsburg for the event. "Yes," said Barrage, "We had a very good day."
For more information about the Honey Brook Fire Company, visit their Web site at www.honeybrookfire.org or call 610-273-2688. For emergencies, always call 911.