ANNA — A monetary donation by two development firms doing business in Anna is extending the educational reach of the Anna Fire Department as the city’s firefighters used the $3,000 gift to purchase an instructional device that will give community members a potentially lifesaving lesson.

Representatives of Skorburg and Ashton Woods combined to make the donation, with the sole intention of providing the funds to the Anna Fire-Rescue Auxiliary Association. Richard Duffy of Skorburg and Scott Albert of Ashton Woods visited the fire department recently and viewed the device, which is called a Passfire.

The device is made by Halcyon Products and allows trained firefighters to demonstrate the proper way to approach a fire, how to determine the best way to engage with the flames, how to prepare and utilize a fire extinguisher, and how to recognize when it is safe to assume the fire is completely extinguished.

“These sound like things we might intuitively know,” Anna Fire Chief Ray Isom said. “In reality, the experience of facing a fire is frightening and can be paralyzing. Without the proper preparation, people can become panicked and make decisions that could prove catastrophic.”

The Passfire uses a metal pan that contains the flames in a controlled manner and depends on propane to produce a flame that can be ignited and extinguished safely. During the training sessions, non-firefighting personnel are kept a safe distance from the controlled fire and trained to attack the fire using commercially-available extinguishers.

A thorough lecture, including questions and answers, on the operation of the equipment precedes each live flame training session.

“We will be using the Passfire very often in our interactions with community groups, organizations and educational institutions,” Isom said. “It will be an invaluable addition to our Fire Prevention Week activities. The two firms that donated the funds for this educational device are to be commended for their part in making Anna safer.”

Fire officials will be developing a scheduling system for use of the Passfire device and will share it with community groups, members of the business community and any interested service organizations in the near future.