Today I had 22 pre-schoolers visit the Station. Just a short chat about Good Fires/Bad Fires, matches and lighters, Stop, Drop and Roll and Get Down Low and Go Go Go (in smoke). That sort of thing. And the obligatory climbing over the trucks. Climbing? Not really, they have to be lifted in and out - but by the parents, we aren't allowed to touch them.
Then it was visit a primary school and chat to 21 grade 2 pupils (6/7 year olds). What do firefighters do, Good Fires/Bad Fires (get them a few times with this) and how good fires can become bad fires. Explain about my turnout clothing, which I had with me. Answer lots of questions and listen to lots of statements! Then on to the next group and sit down on the floor with them to start the same routine. Oops. Something beeping in my pocket, a call. Get up off the floor, apologise to all and say I'll make arrangements to come back. The kids looked so dissapointed. The teacher looked stunned - was it because I was breaking the arrangement? Who knows - I said that I'm on call and must go.
Do many others enjoy this part of our duty as much as I do? I really enjoy it! Itr's hard to stop me talking at any time, but when young children are involved? Impossible! What other sorts of things do you talk to the younger children about?
PS. I called the 2nd graders 'small people' and one of the girls was mildly offended, said that she was 137. I said WOW, even older than me! She hurriedly added 'centimetres' - to much laughter.
We have six kids at home and do our best to get them really involved with the fire department. They spent all day saturday at the department with me cleaning hoses, sweeping floors, picking up sticks and chasing frogs that had snuck inside. As a reward, I gave them a short ride in the fire truck. We don't have any schools in our district, so we don't currently take the trucks to any, but I wouldn't be surprised if I am called to speak to one of the kid's classes about what I do this year.