This last Friday we went to the Fire Station here in town to do a tour with our Mothering Matters group. Our group does this every year and this is the first year that we have actually made it. Will was so excited that morning. I really didn’t think he knew where we were going until he ran upstairs and came back down with his fire truck toy. “Woo-woo,” he said. OK, I guess he is a smart kid. He just fools us all by not talking.
Our half of the group toured the upstairs of the fire station first. We saw the firemen’s living area, kitchen, and screened in porch for barbecue. Unfortunately when they do use it for cooking, they often get 911 calls from people afraid that the fire station is on fire because of the smoke. Our paramedic tour guide explained to us how the 24 hour shifts worked and how they really get to know the men they work with since they spend every 3rd day with them. Many of the things in the fire station come in threes, one for each shift. This even includes the refrigerators, which get locked when it is not their shift. Apparently firemen are protective of their own food. He then showed us the work out room, the bedrooms, and the pole.
We didn’t get to go down the pole, which disappointed Will, but we did get to watch a firefighter come down while we stood below in the red-lighted gear room. If I understood the explanation right, they use red lighting to keep it from breaking down their reflective gear.
Then we headed out and took a look at the ambulance, the rescue truck, the ladder truck, and the firetruck that carries a huge tank of water. The paramedic showed them all sorts of equipment, explained lots of stuff and demonstrated their new air-powered stretcher. Most of it went over the kids heads. I learned why when my parents had someone set their hay on fire three different fire stations sent trucks. He said that it was routine on any out of town fire calls to send three of the tanker trucks so that they’d have enough water. All Will really wanted to do was climb in the truck, which he did get to do.
Seth perked up at this point too. He’d been looking pretty tired and was content to let me carry him around. But once everyone started climbing and touching the trucks, he decided he needed to be included as well. He climbed through the ladder truck just like the other kids and then checked out the huge tires.
The paramedic was finally able to grab everyone’s attention when he showed them how he would get ready for a fire. As he pulled on his protective clothing, all the way up to his air mask and helmet, the kids all watched speechless. He then explained to the kids that if they saw someone dressed like that when they needed help in a fire, not to be scared, but to come to them. After seeing what they look like, I can see why many kids would be scared to death, thinking some weird monster was coming after them out of the smoke and flames. He then demonstrated the alarm that goes off if a firefighter stays still too long to let his team-mates know he needs help. This made an impression on Elise, who asked several questions about it later.
After that, everyone got a free fireman hat and we headed home. It was a fun day. I really should think about what other field trips we could do this year in homeschooling.