Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Things I Learned At The Fire Station

We took a tour of Station 8 in Cobb County yesterday with our homeschool group, my first ever attempt at organizing such an event. We got to see some neat stuff. Even though the tour ran a bit long and some of the younger kids were getting restless, I think the tour was a success overall.

Here are some things I learned:
  • The air tanks that the firefighters use are incorporated into the seats of the fire truck. So they just sit down in their seats, put their arms through the straps and the tanks go with them off of the truck.
  • There have been at least 2 instances in Cobb County of a fire crew rushing off to put out a fire and returning to the station to discover that they left something burning on the stove, causing a fire to break out in the station. Oops.
  • Firefighters don't like to be referred to as "firemen"--even if they are male and no women firemen are around. I explained that Morgan's word is "firema'am." They were only mildly amused.
  • The firefighters are allowed to watch TV after 5:00pm. No television during the day.
  • They have $5 a pay period taken out of their checks to pay for their food staples (flour, coffee, etc.). And they have to pay for the rest of their own food!
  • The gear they wear adds 75 pounds and costs $2500.
  • The mask has a heads up display that shows them how much air is left in their tanks. Cool.
  • Little Richard sings on a fire safety video and looks like a total zombie--it was as if he didn't have a clue about which camera he was supposed to be singing to and he was just singing to somebody else off camera. He's so creepy.
  • Gilbert Gottfried was the voice of Seymour the Smoke Detector. Talk about an alarming sound that would make me get the hell out of somewhere!
  • All firefighters in Cobb County are also either EMT Intermediates or Paramedics. Which explains why they are the ones who have shown up first both times I've had to call 911.
Two very interesting things happened while we were there. We got to watch one of the firemen dress out in his protective gear and listen to him talk with his mask and air tank running. It was a really good way to show the kids what a firefighter will look like in a fire so they aren't (too) scared and know that it's okay to go with them.

The other thing that happened was while we were in the garage inspecting the trucks. They got a call to respond to a car accident and we all had to get out of the way quickly so the guys could jump in the truck and zoom off. We got to wave at them and hear the sirens and everything. How kind of those anonymous people to choose that moment for a fender bender, just for us. The kids were thrilled.

At the end of the tour, I was introducing Ryan to another little girl who has peanut allergy. The firefighters overheard us talking and jumped right in to the conversation, asking if the kids were wearing MedicAlert bracelets. Ryan very proudly displayed his (it was hiding under his Fireman PeopleGuy coat). The guys reiterated how important that was, that they really look for those things. How reassuring. And it got Ryan nagging Brendan about wearing his necklace (yay).

We meant to get pictures, but we were too busy switching Morgan back and forth between us and listening to the firemen talk. But we had lots of fun, as did (I think) the other 23 kids and their parents. Look at me, I'm a Field Trip PeopleGuy!

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