Trucks of the fire and food varieties will roll out Sunday, Oct. 7, for the second annual Prairie Township Food Truck & Fire Prevention Festival from 3-7 p.m. at Station 241, 123 Inah Ave.

Held in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week, the festival is free and family-friendly. It is a unique spin on the traditional open-house events held at fire departments across the country, organizer Evan Strauss said. National Fire Prevention Week was started in 1922. The theme this year is "Look. Listen. Learn."

Strauss, a firefighter with Prairie Township since 2010, said the local festival is a way to build on the department's smoke-detector drive, which ended last year. The three-year initiative sent firefighters to more than 6,000 single-family homes in Prairie Township to install and inspect smoke detectors.

"We went to their house so now we want them to come to our house," he said. "It's a chance to let them see the fire trucks, the part the department plays in their community and a chance to talk about fire prevention."

Visitors to the Food Truck & Fire Prevention Festival will be able to tour the station and get a look at the trucks and equipment firefighters use, Strauss said. Also a fire safety trailer will teach children how to safely exit a house in the event of a fire or smoke.

"It replicates lying in bed or sitting in your house, and you hear a smoke detector. What do you do? We want families to talk about a fire-safety plan: where you'll meet, how you'll get out and what to do when you hear a smoke detector," Strauss said. "Now we can show them why they call 911 and what we can do for them."

At least four food trucks are scheduled, including Schmidt's, Seven Little Sliders, Holy Taco and Chicky Chicky Waffle, Strauss said. Children's activities will include a visit from Columbia Gas and its Digger Dog mascot, face painting and a craft area.

In 2016, Ohio had a death rate from fires that was higher than the national average, according to statistics from the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of the Federal Emergency Management Association.

Those statistics indicate that for every 1,000 home structural fires, 8.3 Ohioans died and more than 39 were injured. The national average that year was six deaths and 24 injuries per 1,000 fires, the fire administration said. This year alone, 81 Ohioans have died in house fires.

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"It's a chance to let them see the fire trucks, the part the department plays in their community and a chance to talk about fire prevention."

-- EVAN STRAUSS

Prairie Township firefighter