Friday, October 10, 2008

A Visit to House 24

On Thursday night, I went with Christopher’s Cub Scout troop to visit the local fire station near the Mall of Georgia. Christopher, age six, is in first grade and a Tiger Cub. He’s excited to be a Cub Scout and has wanted to follow in his brother’s footsteps since Andrew joined the local Scout troop last year.

Fire stations all through the area offer these kinds of tours to children’s group. People can arrange them by calling the Programs and Services number at 678-518-4850. The firefighters visit schools throughout the districts they serve. According to one of the firefighters I talked to, they enjoy the visits as it gives the firefighters a chance to see people at happy times instead of sad ones.

The Tiger Cubs all seemed to have a blast. It opened with a video on fire safety that was geared towards the kids. (What is it about Gilbert Gottfried, who provided the voice for a smoke detector in the video, which makes young and old laugh?) Then Fireman Matt had a question and answer session, making sure every boy in attendance got to talk and received a sticker.

Beep Beep Beep
The firefighters tensed. The beeps go out to all stations, signaling the need that one station’s services will be needed. A central dispatcher announces the firehouse’s number and then the situation.

“Engine 23,” the dispatcher’s voice sounded. I couldn’t hear anything after that, though I knew the firefighters had heard and understood every word. Firefighter Matt returned to the Q&A session.

After the Q&A session, Firefighter Ashley (yes, there are female firefighters) brought out her gear and gave a demonstration to the Tiger Cubs of how firefighters go through the ritual of what is anywhere from 50-80 pounds of equipment, given the needs of the emergency.

Beep Beep Beep
The equipment demo was interrupted by the second set of beeps we’d heard since arrival. “Engine 9,” the dispatcher said. The firefighters relaxed and the demo continued.

Next, the demo headed to what was likely the most exciting: the trucks. Uniforms were stacked next to the trucks, the closest point when it would be needed. They started with one of the big trucks.

Beep Beep Beep
“Engine 20” the dispatcher said and the lecture continued towards one of the medical vehicles at the fire house.

Beep Beep Beep
“Engine 24,” the dispatcher said.

The kidding around stopped as the firefighters ushered the boys and chaperones out of the way. “A business alarm,” one said. Three firefighters kicked off their shoes and got ready, their equipment stacked to facilitate the quick preparedness. The boys went outside to watch the big truck roll out. The firefighters were ready and on the truck in less than two minutes. The lights flashed as they pulled out. All that remained were the firefighter’s shoes, lying beside where the big vehicle had been.

We continued with the tour, which had many shouts of “awesome!” from every Tiger Cub. Within 20 minutes, the truck returned, backing in to the fire station and managing not to run over their shoes in the process.

Overall, it was a great night for the Tiger Cubs. Thank you, House 24.

1 comment:

Daz said...

Having the fire engine called out in the middle of the tour must have been really really cool and exciting for the kids. Sounds like the kids enjoyed it.