I bet you didn’t know that October 6-10 is this year’s National Fire Prevention Week. (If you did, then give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back. If you didn’t, well, then, now you do. And don’t worry– I didn’t know such a thing even existed, until a few years ago.)
Our local fire department hosts a family night each year, to kick off the campaign. They open their fire station to the community, and provide demonstrations, fire tips, fun activities for kids, tours, refreshments (my kids’ second-favorite part!) and health and safety education.
We stumbled onto this fun family night several years ago when either Alex or Kendra was three. We were coming back from a different Family Home Evening activity, drove past the fire station, saw the crowd, made a U-turn and arrived just in time to see them light two plywood rooms on fire, and then extinguish them.
It was awesome. AWESOME. And hot.
We haven’t missed a year since then.
This year Kenny had a quick hour to take off before he had to go back to work (for a sales appointment that stood him up… grrr), so we didn’t get to stay as long as we wanted to, but I thought I’d share some of the highlights of our fun night. (And next year– we’re TOTALLY staying for the fires. Maybe by then Anthony won’t actually want to be IN one of them.)
We got there a few minutes early, and the firemen weren’t ready for us to tour the station yet, so the kids took advantage of the small park at the back of the station. It had rained all weekend, and as first one down the slide, Anthony helped dry the puddle of rainwater that collected at the bottom of it.
The kids all took their turns sliding down the fire pole. Some were MUCH better at it than others, surprisingly. Anthony elected to show off his firefighter muscles, rather than jump down the pole.
We walked through the fire station and looked at their displays. While they were munching on pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies, my little army of ghouls stared transfixed at the pictures on the burn display. While their dad loudly dry-heaved behind them, they asked questions like, “What is that white stuff around all the red? Is that SKIN? COOL!!!” (cool, indeed!), and “Did that man get burned on his stomach? No? Why does it look so red? What’s a ‘skin grass’?” They also loved the rescue squad board, which had pictures of real-life rescues. They narrowed it down to two favorite photos: one was of a serious car accident where the victim was strapped to a gurney and his head was covered in bloody bandages, and the other was of a Trax train tipped sideways on a car.
Yeah, they are SO my kids.
After a bit, we walked back outside to watch the live “rescue” demonstration. I really wanted to get some action photos of the “during”, but my hands were busy holding my kids back from rushing to help, or, if I’m being more honest, wanting to get ahold of the Jaws of Life. Or an axe. Here is how the demonstration started.
When it ended, the car’s top had been cut off and peeled back like a Spam lid. My kids were mesmerized, and EXTREMELY disappointed when the rescue squad extracted a CPR dummy, instead of a real, live person. I tried to impress on them how scary (and noisy!) it would be to sit in a car that was tipped on its side while people broke glass over the top of you, and basically cut the car apart while you sat there, bleeding, but they weren’t buying it. Let’s hope they never have to experience it.
We had to leave at that point, because Kenny had to get back to work. The kids were really disappointed we didn’t get to see the rooms burn, but I’m secretly thrilled, because, while it’s extremely COOL to watch, it is also very stinky and smoky, and WET when they get the fire hoses going. Plus, one saggy yellow strip of CAUTION tape is not enough to keep Anthony in place. In cases of intentional pyromania, I’m not sure four strong hands could do it effectively, either.
(Before you think the fire department is encouraging arson, let me explain how it works. They build two plywood “rooms” and fill one with bedroom furniture and the other with living room furniture. Then they light a cigarette and drop it onto the chair and the mattress, and within minutes, the rooms are completely ablaze. It is one of the best anti-smoking campaigns I’ve ever witnessed. Those rooms go up FAST!)
As we were walking to the parking lot, the engine closest to us lit up and turned on its sirens. What a fitting farewell!