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The Senior Coalition had their September meeting at the Nebraska Firefighters Museum and Education Center. This informative visit was presented by Jenny Slater, the Director of the facility, and Gene Beerbohm, President of the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department. Slater allowed us to tour the building to include the Memorial Garden in back. The exhibits inside the museum are rotated every year to showcase new material. The facility is a statewide organization ran by board members from across Nebraska.

The Memorial honors those that have committed to protecting their communities. Individuals who have served or are still serving are represented on the black granite, or bricks lining the path to the Memorial. The Museum holds an annual Memorial service for all members who have passed on and for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Those individuals are memorialized on the red granite tablets at the North end of the Memorial under the American Flag, 2 Fire flags and 2 EMS flags.

The event room in the building accommodates up to 100 guests and can be broken down to small meetings for a reasonable cost. The room includes tables, chairs, and a kitchen. This area is perfect for birthday parties, graduations, receptions, and many other celebrations. The large table with comfortable chairs offers a fancy option for a group meeting.

The museum is always appreciative of volunteers -- even a couple hours is helpful. Volunteer opportunities are welcome between the hours of 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. They are closed on major holidays. Beerbohm shared stories from his experience of volunteering, “Most of the visitors love to talk or share stories. Sometimes it gets pretty emotional because they’ll see the 9/11 exhibit, or other displays, and remember a loved one they lost”.

Gene Beerbohm spoke to the group about the benefits of the museum and the learning profits of the educational portion of it. Some tips were shared during the meeting:

1. Stop, Drop, and Roll – Did you know to roll back and forth, rather than in one direction? This helps extinguish the flames faster.

2. Don’t open the oven if there’s a fire in it! – Slater shared a story of her 9-year-old learning this information at one of the museum birthday parties. Later that weekend, she stopped an adult from opening the oven door after realizing his food was on fire. With the door closed, the fire will go out on its own.

3. Keep your doors closed. When a fire is spreading through the house, closed doors prolong the spread of the fire rather than open doors. You can actually save up to 20 minutes when the doors are closed.

This facility is in need of volunteers. For those interested in volunteering, please contact Jenny Slater at 308-338-3473.

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