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Special Section Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, August 6, 2009

Hometown heroes will demonstrate rescues, by rope and by crane

By Zach Simeone

ALTAMONT — This year, the Altamont Fair will salute the area’s brave public servants with “Hometown Heroes in Action,” a series of events that will educate fair-goers on how firemen and police officers handle rescue situations.

Different events are scheduled sporadically throughout Fair Week, from Tuesday, Aug. 11, to Sunday, Aug. 16. Those who wish to attend can find the heroes just inside Gate 3 of the fairgrounds.

“When we decided we were going to move away from the idea of parking a [police] car at the fair and having people just take a look and go home — we want to have these people demonstrate what they do in response to public safety crises,” said Stuart Lyman, who is the treasurer of the Altamont Fair, and sits on the board of directors. His wife, Jane, has volunteered her time to help organize the new series as well.

“This is an opportunity to show the excitement of being a fireman, what they bring to the table of the communities they’re in, and why it’s important, as opposed to handing out brochures,” said Mr. Lyman. “It needs to make noise, and to be visually exciting for the firemen and police officers to show what they’re doing. Part of the goal is so the public understands the role of their fire departments.”

One way of achieving this is the “dramatic car drop,” which involves hoisting up a car, with its front end 40 feet from the ground, and dropping it to simulate a head-on collision.

“This is a takeoff on something insurance companies were doing a few years ago: taking cars around to different high schools and dropping them in parking lots to educate the kids to see the result,” Lyman said.

The plan, he said, is to hang the front end of the car 40 feet off the ground. “If it’s 40 feet off the ground, it’ll be going 45 miles per hour when it hits the ground,” said Lyman. “Then, the firemen are going to do the Jaws of Life, and the rescue response they would do at a crash site. They have to take the roof off it, spread the doors open, and rescue the victim.”

Each day, Mrs. Lyman said, a different local fire department will perform the rescue following the car drop: The Knox Fire Department will perform the extrication Tuesday, Aug. 11; the Guilderland Center Fire Department will do a rope rescue instead of a car drop on Wednesday; the Slingerlands Fire Department on Thursday; the Fort Hunter Fire Department on Friday; the Fuller Road Fire Department on Saturday; and the Pine Grove Fire Department on Sunday.

There will also be simulations of burning buildings on Wednesday, Aug. 12, and Thursday, Aug. 13.

“The Colonie Fire Department is going to mock up two rooms: one that has a sprinkler system in it, and one that doesn’t,” said Mr. Lyman. “They’ll have furniture and stuff in them, and they’re going to burn them so people can see the difference the sprinkler system makes. The room with no protection will go up immediately, but the one with the sprinkler they can set on fire up to three times before it actually burns.”

These, along with puppet shows by Guilderland’s fire and police departments, a tribute to the fallen heroes of 9/11, and dozens of other presentations will take place as part of this new program.

For a full schedule of Hometown Heroes in Action and all other fair attractions, go to www.altamontfair.com.

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