Kids learn about fire fighting
Some 30 children and youth between 7 and 13 years old participated in the Wesson Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) Fire Academy for Kids (FAK) last month.
FAK is a fun, educational and action program that gives children life safety skills in fire emergencies, first aid and injury prevention’ and introduces them fire fighters and emergency medical technicians, equipment they use and the jobs they perform.
At the WVFD Spring Street fire station on August 26 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the youngsters participated in classroom learning activities and trained hands-on in fire safety, first aid and basic fire fighting – rescuing a victim while wearing a face mask, using fire hoses and dressing in turnout gear. They also took away home-study sheets to involve their whole families in their training, and parents are now assisting their children with home assignments and, together, family members are practicing fire drills and using home escape routes with the help of FAK participants.
While the focus was on fires, participants also looked at safety issues around seatbelts, cycling, driving motor vehicles and four-wheelers, skate boarding, drug abuse, street smarts and avoiding stranger danger, window bars, smoke alarms, cooking and internet use.
Participants, divided into three teams, covered eight fire fighting and emergency response subject matter areas in hands-on classes on a rotating basis led by WVFD members, including Ken and Sam Carraway, Sean Ray and Chris Wade, among others:
Donning and duffing turnout gear. Helmets, boots, full gear. Clean up, hang up.
Air pack and mask two minute drill. Turnout gear, including self-contained breathing apparatus. Putting on and taking off full gear. Clean up, hang up.
Hose, nozzle and hydrants. Supplies, jacket hose, nozzles, valves and hand tools. Hydrants -- E-1 and parking. Barricading engine, Running off the hydrant.
Rescue drag. Catching dummies under arms and dragging them backwards while standing. Dragging while crawling. Putting high rise pack on shoulder to carry.
Search and rescue. Right hand and left hand search method. Maintaining wall contact. Sweeping hands to feel and find a baby.
CPR/First Aid. Supplies. First Aid Kit. Sling and splint material. Bandages. How to stop bleeding and apply a band aid or bandage. How to splint an arm and swath.
Smoke house simulation.
Participant teams were named in honor of historic fire fighting and emergency units throughout the nation: Engine 17, a Boston, Massachusetts, fire department nicknamed the “Fighting 17” that runs about 3,000 calls each year. Ladder 21, a New York City 9/11 responder that lost seven members in the lobby of the south tower when the north tower collapsed on them. Rescue 33, a volunteer rescue and tower company in Kentland, Maryland, which responded to 7,200 emergency incidents last year.
FAK uses the “EDGE” method in training: Explain how to do the task and why it’s done that way. Demonstrate how it is done and answer questions. Guide to successful completion. Enable, build confidence and encourage the activity. In addition to the contribution of the WVFD members to teaching, officers from Wesson Police Department helped participants looked beyond fires to other safety issues.
FAK awarded certificates to program completers in a special graduation ceremony at the fire station attended by family and friends.