Ronnie Sykes, left, and Fire Chief Lorenzo Wilkins stand in front of Engine No. 11.

Everyone knows a firefighter will disregard their safety by running into a burning building to save a citizen from a dangerous situation. Few people have knowledge of all the work firefighters do to perform their mission for the community. It’s a lot. From 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 27, the community gets the opportunity to interact with Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department personnel during the station’s Open House Expo.

“It’s a great opportunity for the public to come out and see the fire department, as well as meet all these great men and women that serve the community,” RWVFD Chief Lorenzo Wilkins said. “They’ll learn the capabilities of what we can do. I believe people are going to be very surprised of the things we are able to do at Roanoke Wildwood.”

May 27 marks the first time the department has hosted an Open House Expo of this kind. All of the department’s equipment will be on display.

The public can look over the fire trucks and their capabilities. The RWVFD boats will be on site, and dive team members will explain their mission. The aerial drone team is slated to send drones into the air to perform demonstrations. The water drone squad will show what it does and explain the impact the drones play in the fire department’s public safety role.

Members of The RWVFD Auxiliary are the group that makes the department’s mission is met. Auxiliary members will be on hand to discuss the fundraising it performs for the department and how the money it raises is used for the public’s benefit. The open house also provides a recruiting opportunity for the auxiliary.

The RWVFD will be joined by other organizations during the open house. The Lake Gaston Water Safety Council will be on site with its trailer to discuss water safety and provide literature detailing the many aspects of the group’s functions it offers for Lake Gaston residents and visitors. The Lake Gaston Community 911 Task Force will also be on hand to educate citizens on its public safety mission.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun,” Wilkins said. “We’re going to have food vendors selling hotdogs and hamburgers. There will be PowerPoint presentations throughout the day, music and a lot more. We’re trying to get the North Carolina Highway Patrol to bring their helicopter out here so they can talk about all of their capabilities from the air. We’re really looking forward to the Open House Expo.”

The RWVFD Open House Expo will have something for everybody attending the event. There may be even more by the time May 27 rolls around on the calendar. The department continues to reach out to other entities to make the event as successful as possible.

What does the RWVFD do to serve the Lake Gaston community? Those that come to the May 27 Open House Expo will learn that the answer is — a lot.