Children hold their ears when they hear the shrill sound a smoke detector makes.


MARGATE – For more than 30 years, the Margate City Fire Department has held its annual open house to educate the city’s youngest citizens in a fun way about how to protect themselves in the event of a fire.

Fire Chief Dan Adams started the educational portion of the event promptly at 6:30 p.m. June 28 asking children donned in plastic red and black fire helmets to sit on the mats set up in the parking lot behind the Margate City Public Library. He started by asking children important questions and providing simple, effective answers about establishing a plan, having two ways out of a location in their house, and calling 911 only in an emergency.

Children held their ears when he pushed the button to demonstrate the sound a smoke detector makes.

“You should go home tonight and ask your parents or grandparents to familiarize you with the sound the smoke detector in your house makes,” he said.

Some smoke detectors emit a shrill sound and others have verbal messages to announce a fire and to evacuate immediately, he said.

“If you hear this sound, it means there could be a fire.”

He said that if children are in their bedrooms, they should feel the door for heat, and if it’s hot, they should go to their second way out, which could be a window, and yell out for help.

Firefighters demonstrated and gave the children the chance to practice how to crawl beneath the smoke using a large grey blanket. Another firefighter demonstrated and gave the children a chance to practice how to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothing catches on fire.

Adams familiarized the children with what a firefighter in full turnout gear looks like, and encouraged the children to not be afraid and to go to the firefighter who will keep them safe during a fire.


Mom Sarah Rosenthal of Margate said she brings her children, ages 4 and 8 to the event every year.

“My 8-year-old really pays attention, and my 4-year-old is starting to get it,” she said. “This is a great event to teach children about fire safety. They also go to the schools every year, so the kids are getting the message repeatedly. I’m grateful to live in this town.”

Commissioner of Public Safety Cathy Horn said her son is now 20 years old and attended the event every year since he was a toddler.

“They’ve been doing this for more than 30 years,” she said. “Our families really look forward to this event every year. It’s a great start to the 4th of July weekend.”

More than 150 children and adults attended the event, Library Management Specialist Charles Featherer said.

After the educational component, children were free to climb aboard fire trucks and an ambulance to see firsthand what it’s like to be a firefighter/emergency medical technician. All of Margate’s firefighters are certified EMTs.

Several firefighters volunteered their time to cook up some hotdogs for the children. Others were on Huntington Avenue to give the children a chance to squirt the firehose to put out the imaginary fire coming from the top of a miniature house. A new addition this year was the giant fire hydrant sprinkler set up in the street.


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Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.