BEND, OR -- The Bend Fire Department has a new mobile education center powered by the sun. Volunteer Coordinator George Fox spearheaded the project to convert a decommissioned fire engine into a resource for fire prevention and safety. Solar panels power its media displays. "We wanted to make this a better operational system. We wanted to make sure it was a prevention device that we can take to anyone and teach any type of prevention message possible. The idea that we can now take this anywhere, and not have to drag a power cord, we can now pull up and have it fully operational and on its own."
Fox tells KBND News one of the best things about the community engine is that everyone can check it out, "It's a working operational opportunity for kids to be able to sit on the engine, sit in the driver's seat, sit in back where the firefighters work, and point and look at the gauges and ask questions about how we operate it on the fire ground." He adds, "Anybody that comes up with ADA requirements can now visualize everything that goes on in the cab. We can now turn that program around. And, instead of playing a safety message, it will simulate driving the engine down the street. So they can see what it's like, hear the siren, and hear the radios and see what it's like to drive through traffic."
The community engine makes its debut at the Environmental Center Earth Day parade and celebration Saturday. Fox says it's come full circle, as it was at the same event last year when the idea was born. Money for the project was raised over the last year, through a grant and donations.