Friday, May 25, 2001

On sale here: Fire protection

Mall fire station sells information, offers services - and fights fires

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        COLERAIN TOWNSHIP — The storefront in Northgate Mall isn't a typical retail store. Nor is it a typical fire station.

        Firefighters in the Colerain Township Fire Department's Northgate station — thought to be the only such fire/emergency medical services outpost in the region — not only provide public education and community interaction, they also respond to emergencies in the northern Hamilton County shopping mall.

        “What we do here is teach the public about fire safety and the types of fire services,” Colerain Township firefighter Chris Trammell said. “It's our way of reaching out to the kids and the public.”

[photo] Firefighter Chris Trammell (left) encourages Ryan Keeley of Fairfax to take fire-safety brochues at the Northgate Mall “ fire house. ”
(Dick Swaim photo)
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        The station has been open for about six years and is staffed by Colerain Township firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Hours vary, depending on staffing, but the store is usually open seven days a week.

        Community services offered by firefighters in the store include taking blood pressure and blood-sugar readings and occasionally hosting blood drives.

        The outpost has received national recognition, and Colerain officials have fielded calls from fire departments across the country asking about the concept.

        The personnel in the “fire store” are equipped with fire radios and emergency first-aid equipment.

        “We are first responders in the mall,” Mr. Trammell said. “We have things we (use) to start early work on a patient.”

        Firefighters can also respond to fire calls in the mall, and can be particularly useful in updating responding units of the situation.

        The idea for a mall station was hatched by a Colerain Township fire inspector who noticed an empty store in the mall and thought it would be a good place to do public education and interact with the community, Chief Bruce Smith said.

        Mall management embraced the idea.

        “It's nice, because they actually carry emergency medical services equipment,” said Cindy Hart, assistant manager at Northgate. “They can respond very quickly if something happens in the mall. It's a great community service and we love having them here.”


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