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M/PIFCD holds fourth annual open house

November 1, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Under cloudy skies, the Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District held its fourth annual open house at the main fire station on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

"This is turning onto a huge event," Fire Chief Ben Mickuleit said. "I think of everything we do at these open houses, the Lee County Fire Marshall Smoke Trailer is one of the most important things we do.

"The smoke trailer gives the children and adults the simulated experience of getting out of a house that is filled with smoke. It is completely safe but very real. After they watch a short video and a brief demonstration about safety in the kitchen, they perform an exit drill that helps them prepare them for a real emergency."

Article Photos

Mason Player is ready to drive the fire truck.


On the baseball field behind the fire station a Huey helicopter landed. Pilot Rita Maiss, co-pilot Mike Vigus and biologist Kara Tyler-Julian were aboard.

Maiss has been with Lee County Mosquito Control for 7 mosquito seasons.

"When we're not spraying for mosquitos, we travel around the area to educate the public about what we do," Maiss said. "This gives people an opportunity to see the equipment and go through the helicopter."

Tyler-Julian is a mosquito biologist.

"The area I'm responsible for is Cape Coral and North Fort Myers," Julian said. "It's my job to keep track of those areas by helicopter and truck to watch for mosquito breeding. After a heavy rainfall I go out looking for larvae. If I find larvae I make a treatment plan, decide which product to use, which larvicide and send the helicopters out to spray."

Educating the public is a key element of the M/PIFCD open houses.

"We want the community and especially the children to know what the fire department is all about," Mickuleit said. "If we ever see them on a call, we want them to be familiar with us and we want the kids to know that we're here to help them. This is also a good opportunity for the community to learn about us and who we are. It's all a lot of fun but very educational."



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