PublicationailyNews; Date:Sep 20, 2005; Section:Local and State; Page Number:15

Fire department show may clear away the smoke

By AMY LEIGH WOMACK Daily News Staff Writer

Ocean City-Wright firefighters are inviting residents to see what their lives are really like tonight.

It’s not “Backdraft” or “Ladder 49.”

“Fully Involved,” a sneak peek into a real firehouse, will premiere at 7 p.m. on Cox Cable Channel 39.

Show producer and Fire Engineer Ryan Christen said the idea came from brainstorming between the fire department administrators and the Ocean City-Wright Firefighters Association Local 2879.

“The purpose of the video is for people to see what we do,” said Fire Chief Randy Brown.

Brown said he saw how much useful information was included in a similar video produced by the Okaloosa County Sheriff ’s Office last year.

“I saw things about the Sheriff ’s Office I didn’t know,” he said.

For the most part, people know when they see a fire truck going down the road with flashing lights and sirens that it’s the fire department, said Lt. Jeff Gardner, president of the local union.

“This gives people an opportunity to see what we’re doing when they don’t see us,” he said.

Christen said he has talked to many people over past couple of years who have misconceptions about fire departments in general.

“They are surprised to hear we run on anything you’d dial 911 for,” Christen said. “We wanted to let the public know what we do to assist them and to inform them about some of the community programs we’re involved in.”

To give viewers the most accurate picture possible, Christen said he took a video camera into a training fire so they can see and hear what a real fire looks like from a firefighter’s point of view.

“You actually get to see footage from inside a fire,” he said.

Gardner said the program also features “off the cuff ” interviews with firefighters.

“You’re really getting true answers out of the guys,” he said.

Gardner said he hopes that by watching the program residents will realize a fire scene is nothing like what they see in the movies and on TV.

“It doesn’t happen that way,” he said. “It’s dark and noisy and it’s hot.”

The program is also scheduled to air at 7 p.m. Sept. 27 and at the same time every Monday and Tuesday in October, Christen said.

¸ Staff Writer Amy Leigh Womack can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 445, or