Take a picture with Santa at South Salisbury Fire Department

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 2, 2018

By Shavonne Walker

SALISBURY — Since December 2006, the community has been able to take pictures with Santa Claus at South Salisbury Fire station for a great occasion and to support a great cause.

The event, which is in its 13th year, will make it possible for the department to purchase a commercial dryer for their turnout gear, explained Deputy Fire Chief Jason Burnett.

The event will take place Monday and Tuesday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the station, 3207 Old Concord Road.

Guests are welcome to take their own pictures as well, Burnett said, however, the department requests that individuals purchase at least one 4 x 6 photo for $5 from the department. Multiple prints can be purchased as well, if desired. Pets are also welcome for photos, he said.

Terry Eller, who has served as a member of the fire department for 41 years, has always scheduled Santa Claus for the annual picture fundraiser and Santa Ride on Christmas Eve.

“We don’t know how he does it but are extremely grateful for all the trips made to the North Pole to speak with Santa Claus about his availability,” Burnett said.

Burnett also thanked photographer Amanda Eller who has taken the pictures for the fundraiser.

“A standard residential or similar type dryer is not able to reduce the level of heat supplied to the garments and over time will quickly breakdown the protective barriers and layers thus causing potential exposure and injury to our personnel,” he said.

The cost of the dryer is $10,000.

This year, organizers added support T-shirts to the fundraising campaign.

T-shirts will be available in adult, youth and toddler sizes. The adult shirt is a standard supporter T-shirt of the fire department. The youth and toddler T-shirts recognize them as a fire department rookie and also have animated graphics of equipment on the reverse side.

The adult sized T-shirts are $15 each and the youth and toddler sized T-shirts are $10 each. Adult sizes run from small to 2XL. Youth sizes run from extra small to large while toddler sizes run 18 month, 2T and 3T.

“We will also have a number of free giveaways for both adults and children as well as fire truck and fire station tours, as requested,” Burnett said.

“This project also aligns with our current initiative of reducing our occupational exposure to the harmful effects of cancer-causing agents,” he said.

“The idea of having the dryer is to increase the number of times firefighter gear is washed, removing and/or limiting the harmful cancer-causing agents all while reducing the downtime of the gear to quickly be placed back into service and available for the next incident,” Burnett said.

Currently, firefighters have to hang and let their gear air dry, which takes at least a day if not longer in most situations, he said.

“The dryer will be able to significantly reduce this downtime and hopefully promote a better quality of life for our personnel long term,” Burnett said.

The annual Santa Ride is scheduled for Dec. 24. Santa Claus will ride on a department fire truck to area neighborhoods greeting children and citizens.

The ride typically starts around 10 a.m. and lasts into the afternoon hours. There is no set route, he said, just listen for the siren and horns from the fire truck.