They learn about smoke, they learn about fire, they learn about safety and buckets and hoses. But most of all, they learn about teamwork.
“Every step of the way, your crew member is backing you up,” Littleton firefighter Lindsey Miller told the group of kids who were excitedly answering his questions in exchange for small treats.
The occasion was the Littleton Fire Rescue Mini Fire Academy at the department’s training facility, open to all kids who live within LFR’s coverage area. They learn about bike safety, how and when to call 911, basic first aid and much more.
“Our goal is to teach safety, and to give kids a glimpse of what it’s like to be a firefighter,” said Katie Moore, LFR’s life-safety educator.
Some of the kids learned a little about themselves, as well. Ryan, for example, at first wanted absolutely nothing to do with climbing the fire-escape stairs to the second floor of the burn tower. But firefighter Mark Rogers coaxed him into it, promising to be there every step of the way.
“I felt like, wow, that wasn’t as scary as I thought,” said Ryan after returning to the ground unscathed.
Carly said the combat challenge was her favorite part. It entailed hauling a hose, swinging a plastic axe, climbing the stairs, and more tasks a firefighter might have to do in a day. Carly’s best time was 1 minute, 26 seconds.
“I feel like you just get really energetic and stuff,” she said.
A popular attraction was LFR’s new Engine 11, the snazziest fire truck in the fleet. It boasts a number of enhanced safety features and carries 650 gallons of water and 40 gallons of foam. The water and foam mix in its hose, making it much lighter to carry than a hose full of just water. Firefighter Eric Hovart, who played chauffeur for the kids, said Engine 11 tops out at 68 mph, and the emissions are so clean you could breathe out of the tailpipe.
Engine 11 also has a siren and an air horn, and they are very loud. The children really, really liked stepping on the buttons that set them off.
At the end of the busy day, a shower under the fire hose cooled the kids off, and there was plenty of splashing during the bucket-brigade competition, as well.
“We do it two times a summer, and they’re my favorite two weeks of the year,” said Moore. “I love going into the schools too, but here we get to see their personalities and watch them learn and grow throughout the week.”
The next session is July 14-17. It’s full already, but there’s a waiting list. For more information, contact Moore at 303-795-3833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.