World

Revamped ‘Survive Alive House’ helps Chicago Fire Department teach safety tips

Simulated smoke, heated doors and a renovated interior will help Chicago-area students and seniors learn about and prevent fires at the Chicago Fire Department’s overhauled ‘Survive Alive House’ on the Near West Side.

The Survive Alive House, located in the department’s public education center at 1010 S. Clinton Ave., is a staged home where fire conditions are simulated and department employees teach people how to respond in an emergency. Complete with a living room, kitchen and bedrooms, the house is meant to be as realistic as possible.

Donations from State Farm, Home Depot, Denova Detect and Roy’s Furniture provided the house’s first renovation since it was launched in 1989. The updates give participants a more realistic experience, Chief Walter Schroeder said.

“If you think about it, technology has evolved so much since its inception,” Schroeder said. “There used to be a payphone to call 911. Today’s kids would be like ‘What is that?’”

Students from Doolittle Elementary School in Bridgeport hang out the window of the Survive Alive House while learning about fire safety on Tuesday.

The house welcomes around 25,000 students per year on field trips and events put on by the fire department.

Kindergarteners from Doolittle Elementary School in Bridgeport were the first students to see the new design Tuesday. The kids entered the house and looked around before simulated smoke began to fill the rooms. Fire department staff instructed them to get low to the ground, to touch closed doors to feel for heat indicating a fire on the other side, and to escape from the home.

“This house is so fun!” one child said.

“I was scared, but I did it,” another chirped.

Surrounded by false smoke, a student and chaperone from Doolittle Elementary School in Bridgeport peer into the window of the Survive Alive House.

Surrounded by smoke, a student and a chaperone from Doolittle Elementary School in Bridgeport peer into the window of the Survive Alive House.

Some students screeched and fought back tears as the rooms filled with fake smoke, but then swelled with pride after they crawled safely out of the home. They chanted “Take me to the smoke detectors, push and hold,” at the direction of a firefighter reminding them to ask their guardians to show them where to find the smoke detectors in their homes.

New furniture, flooring, cabinets and appliances brought the house into the 21st century, donors and staff said.

“We’re just making it more realistic so they can feel like it’s actual life instead of going back in the time warp,” said Home Depot store manager Angel Mayoski.

The house also included natural gas detectors from Denova Detect, which donated $15,000 worth of detectors to the fire department to hand out to seniors in need. There have been 26 natural gas explosions in Illinois in the past four years, including eight in 2023 and the latest one just Monday in Woodstock, according to Denova Detect education director Julie Harris.

The detectors sense natural gas and emit an alert before an explosion occurs, Harris said.

Roy’s Furniture in Lincoln Park donated all the furniture in the house as a repayment to the fire department for their help responding to a devastating fire at the furniture store in 2012, CEO Johanna Parra said.

“The whole store was gone,” Parra said “We just wanted to donate to give back for their overwhelming support.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button