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Search and Rescue hosts open house

On Saturday, Summit County Search and Rescue turned its Kamas station into an interactive place for kids to learn more about the crucial services the county provides law enforcement, firefighting and more.

Members of the South Summit Fire District, Summit County Wildland Fire, Summit County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies facilitated hands-on activities for kids, from putting out small fires and exploring the inside of an ambulance to simulating exiting a two-story building from a fire.

"It’s been a fun community event. We get to give kids some hands-on [fire] training. It’s been really positive," said South Summit Assistant Fire Chief Derek Maxfield.

The open house was the second of three held during April, in what is National County Government Month. This year’s theme is "Ready and Resilient Counties: Prepare. Respond. Thrive."

At the beginning of Saturday’s open house, the two winners from the South Summit School District of the county’s Emergency Essay Contest were sworn in as honorary fire chief and deputy sheriff of the day. Fourth graders Joshua Harris and Morgan Williams garnered the respective titles.

Williams was given a ride to the Search and Rescue station in a Sheriff’s vehicle while Harris arrived in a South Summit fire engine.

Harris, who got to take home a firefighter’s axe as a prize, wrote his essay on emergency issues such as fire safety, establishing meeting places during a fire and the importance of not prank calling 911.

"I’m very proud of him. I didn’t even know he had written an essay until I heard he won," said Harris’ father, Kevin.

Daren Sorensen, who works for both Summit County Wildland Fire and the South Summit Fire District, was on-hand to teach kids about fire knowledge and skills. Sorensen said he comes from a long line of firefighters.

"I’m a third-generation firefighter, and my dad and my step-dad are on the department," Sorensen said, who was also involved in fighting last August’s Rockport Estates fire.

South Summit Fire Capt. Jackson Coleman taught Harris and other kids how to use a hydraulic shears and a hydraulic spreader, which are used to tear into vehicles in order to save those trapped inside.

Members of the South Summit Fire District also grilled hot dogs for visitors and Ken Ludwig of the Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands was present to teach individuals about the importance of defensible space around homes, which can help prevent the spread of wildfires.

The last open house will take place Saturday, April 26, at Park City Fire District Station 33, located at 736 Bitner Road, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents can enjoy free food, exhibits and materials for emergency preparedness.