Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Fire Station

Last Friday, High Park Home Daycare went on a field trip to the local fire station at Keele and Dundas West. Both Aidas's mother (Aldona) and the twins' mother (Marlaine) came along to help out with the excursion. This trip has been a long time coming. I had wanted to take them last summer, but children have to be at least 2.5 years old before the fire department will allow them to tour. Well, the youngest of our group turned 2 and a half on July 2nd, so we were now ready! 

When we got there, there were no firefighters or fire trucks in sight. No one answered the doorbell. With all the hype surrounding this trip, I was really dreading having to tell the children they would not get to go on a fire truck. Not only would they be sad; it could get downright ugly. Toddler rage times five. On a hot day. Far from home. This is the stuff nightmares are made of! Okay, I digress, and embellish...

Let's just say there was a big sigh of relief when we saw a fire truck pulling up to the station. Marlaine quipped that we were probably the last people they wanted to see after attending to a fire. I agreed, and even felt a little guilty just for being there. Well, if they were disappointed to see us, they surely didn't show it. They were absolutely hospitable.

The kids enjoyed sitting in the fire truck. One of the firefighters showed them his suit, boots, and gas mask. Another firefighter later informed me that the gas mask has only been available for the past 15 years or so. She stated that there is no damage to the lungs now, with the mask, but some firefighters who have been with the department a long time are suffering consequences to their health because of previous exposure to smoke and chemicals.

One of the firefighters showed us how one of his tools worked by playfully spraying water at his fellow firefighter. This same man later entertained the children by walking on his hands. It was so nice that he went out of his way to make the children smile. Noah still talks (at least once a day) about how he sprayed the water, so he did really make an impression!

All of them were a little hesitant, but Maya was most in need of mommy's security. The enormity of the fire truck would be intimidating to kids, never mind the new faces! 

Noah and B. both got a chance to sit in the driver's seat of the fire truck. This firefighter even turned on the siren when B. sat with her. It was very loud and exciting for the kids, and I was happy that she had done this for them. As you can imagine, however, Maya was not pleased!

It was a very hot day, so we eventually made our way out of the sun (the firefighters had left the fire truck parked in the driveway) and into the station. The kids stood in awe as a fire truck backed into the station. And to top off the visit, they each received a firefighter's hat. They looked so proud to receive this from an official firefighter!

One of the firefighters insisted on taking a picture of the whole group, and I am so glad he did. I'll treasure these two pictures forever. The kids just look too darned cute!

Apart from what they did for the kids, I am grateful for all that I learned from the visit. We adults were naturally curious about many aspects of the firefighting profession, and the firefighters answered all our questions with a genuine interest in sharing their knowledge. I am in awe of their courage for the dangerous career that they have chosen. And as a teacher myself, I have great admiration for the passion they exhibit for helping the community learn about fire safety. We thank-you, Keele/Dundas firefighters!

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