Mundelein fire-safety truck becomes popular sight on city streets
A Dalmatian-decorated, bright-red van with all kinds of bells and whistles has become a hit with residents, the Mundelein Fire Department said recently about its new educational vehicle, designed to increase public safety awareness.
Outfitted with fancy gear, including fire extinguishers, a thermal-camera and more, the Ford Transit van hits the road regularly to teach constituents about fire prevention, control and safety in a user-friendly manner.
"This is just a fun way to help inform the public about fire safety," Lt. Steve D'Incognito, the department's public education coordinator, said. “We are taking public education on the road.”
D'Incognito created a customized collapsible rack system within the vehicle so that he and fellow firefighters need not load and unload equipment repeatedly.
"It's a self-sufficient vehicle, and it has been especially popular at local schools,” Fire Chief Ben Yoder said. “The side of the van, which features a Dalmatian in a firefighter's jacket holding a battery for a smoke alarm, is particularly eye-catching. The kids are excited when they see it. They know the Dalmatian. They know it's the fire dog. We're just happy as heck with this thing."
Plenty of plastic helmets and educational swag are doled out to delighted youngsters each time the dog-decked cruiser heads out, but adults also benefit from the vehicle, which also goes to local businesses to show employees how to use fire extinguishers and other fire-safety tips.