There’s something about a fire or a wrecked car that draws a crowd. More than 600 people proved it yesterday at the Cumberland Heritage Village Museum’s fifth annual Firefighter and Protective Services Day.

But the event, which featured Ottawa police officers, paramedics and more than 50 firefighters from six city fire stations, was more than a show. It was an opportunity for firefighters to educate area residents about fire hazards and prevention.

In one attraction, firefighters repeatedly extinguished barbecue fires. Ottawa Fire Captain Lyle Kinsella said some people try to barbecue in their garages instead of their backyards in the open air, where their use is intended.


The use of real fire in the display catches people’s eyes and is more likely to convey the message beyond merely explaining it, he said.

Other demonstrations included auto extrication, self-rescue (how a firefighter escapes a building in an emergency), rapid intervention (coming to the aid of another firefighter) and hands-on activities, including how to use a fire extinguisher.

The auto extrication demonstration is good for the public to know, Kinsella said.

“God forbid that you ever be in the car when it happens, but it helps people understand why we tear the car apart — we want to make sure the (victim’s) spine stays straight.”