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Fire expo offers solutions

Event aims to prevent blazes

Posted: October 18, 2008 8:42 p.m.
Updated: December 20, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Los Angeles County firefighter Francisco Lomeli, of Station No. 132, shows 10-year-olds Nico Rotellini-Cataldi of Castaic and Zackary Kaufman of Stevenson Ranch how to properly use the head phones onboard one of the fire engines at the 'Living in the Fire Zone' event on Saturday.

 
The Los Angeles County Fire Department picked the perfect time to host a fire expo.

Fire Station No. 124 in Stevenson Ranch hosted the Living in The Fire Zone expo Saturday. The event drew several hundred people and outperformed expectations, a fire official said. That’s not a stretch considering the recent fire media coverage.

“We’ve always had fires since I lived here. We came to see what’s out there in the form of fire protection,” Richard Sathre said. He and his wife, Roslynn Sathre fled during the Placerita Fire. The couple shopped for fire safety equipment designed to protect homes and give homeowners some piece of mind, Richard Sathre said.

Fire expo vendors showed goods ranging from high-tech to not-so-high-tech. Fire retardant foams and gels capable of keeping homes and vehicles safe grabbed Richard Sathre’s interest. “I have a boat and I can use the foam to keep my boat safe. I also like the pool pump because during a fire there might not be sufficient water flow and my pool has 25,000 gallons of water,” he said.

Fire prevention is more than fire retardant gels and fire resistant roof tiles, said Frank Lemmo voice president of LI Metal Services.
“Your current gable vent is like an open door or window into your attic,” Lemmo said. LI Metal Services designs a baffled vent the stops embers cold. The company also sells foam gutter guards to keep embers from igniting leaves. LI Metal Services entered the fire protection business this year and Lemmo said the business is heating up. “There is a lot of information in the local media and it is driving home the theme that people need to take steps to protect their home,” Lemmo said.

Scott Gershin lives in Stevenson Ranch and remembers how close the flames came to his home in 2003. “The fire burned within 30 feet of my backyard,” he said. Scott brought his son Jaiden Gershin to the Living in The Fire Zone expo. “I want him to be aware of what the firefighters do for us,” he said.

Jaiden Gershin might be young, but he knows exactly what firefighters do for their communities. “They rescue people,” he said. Jaiden Gershin loves watching water drops on the news, but he has one complaint about the fire trucks. “They are a little too noisy when they go to the fires,” he said.

“The turnout exceeded our expectations,” said Stephanie English, L.A. County Fire spokeswoman. She believes the fire expo is a dual success.

Luke Claus, county Fire-Battalion 6 assistant fire chief, added, “Our hope is that people will still chose to evacuate when told.”

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