The visit began with a great presentation about fire safety. The firefighters were very approachable and did an excellent job of providing age-appropriate fire safety information without frightening the children. They brought a working household fire alarm and explained that if the children heard that sound they should go outside immediately and stay outside; they encouraged the children to talk with their parents about an appropriate evacuation plan and meeting place in the event of a fire or an emergency. They also discussed that children should crawl out of the house if smoke is present, and reviewed the use of 9-1-1 (that children should call it in the event of an emergency if their parents were unable to call, but that it should not be called for fun). Additionally, they reminded the children that matches and lighters are tools for adults and if they ever found matches or lighters, they should tell an adult and ask the adult to move them to a safe place. These reminders are very important to the safety of children (studies show that the majority of children possess an interest in fire and nearly half of children aged 5-7 report having engaged in fire play).
However, the most important part of the visit, in my opinion, was having the children see a firefighter don and remove their protective gear. It is very important for children this age to learn not to be afraid of firefighters, so that in the event of an emergency, the children do not hide from them. To this end, firefighter Dustin willingly put on his full uniform (mask, helmet, gloves, etc) in front of the children so that they could see that beneath the mask was a person.
Having this opportunity to view a firefighter up-close in full regalia really helped the children to become more comfortable with them.
Then it was time for the climax of the visit- the tour of the pumper truck! The children were literally beside themselves with excitement as the firefighters showed them the many tools on board the firetruck.
Our sincere thanks goes out to all of the firefighters, and all of Station Six, for taking time out of their day to come and speak with us. I am extremely confident that their visit imparted important information helped the children to have a better understanding of the important tasks performed by firefighters, and would help them to feel more comfortable approaching firefighters in the event of an emergency. We really appreciate all that you do in service to our community!