Kids learn what happens when they play with fire

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 13, 2002

There was a great deal of excitement Friday at Suffolk Fire Station #3 and it did not involve a fire. Firefighters gathered to watch as local school children graduated from &uot;Fire & Life Safety School.&uot;

All last week, students from across the City of Suffolk were learning fire and life safety in a day camp atmosphere. According to Capt. James T. Judkins Jr., the week’s activities included everything from the excitement of riding on a fire truck to using fire hoses just like real firefighters.

&uot;With all the media coverage on children in &uot;harm’s way,&uot; this week has been an excellent opportunity to teach our kids how to be safe around fire or water,&uot; said the captain. &uot;Fire is just one aspect of how fire and water can cause injuries to children and we taught them about safety around both elements. They have all graduated and each one earned a certificate for what they have learned.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

Judkins added that it is the elderly and children who are most affected by fires. He said that now that the 2002 Fire School for children is completed, he is looking at the aspect of providing similar training for senior citizens.

&uot;If programs like this save the life of one child, one person, then it’s well worth the planning and our firefighters’ time,&uot; said the captain. &uot;Our firefighters taught the kids so much that could save their lives. Things like planning an escape if their home caught fire, and how to use a rope during a rescue, but we also let them do things that they thoroughly enjoyed.&uot;

The children not only rode through town on a fire engine with sirens blaring and lights flashing but they learned a great deal from videos and printed activity sheets. Lunchtime with the firefighters was also special to the students, so special in fact that the 11-year olds wanted to return for next year’s Fire & Safety Camp.

&uot;This is the second year we’ve held the camp and it’s been so successful that we will work on another program to let the older children continue to participate,&uot; said Capt. Judkins. &uot;We certainly appreciate parents letting us have their children for a week of training that could save a life.&uot;

Pam King, specialist/investigator for the Fire Prevention Bureau, is one of the many firefighters who worked with the children. She explained that children are selected from applicants to the program, and she said the Fire & Life Safety Camp for youth is funded by the Jeffrey T. Messinger Foundation/Education Memorial Fund.

&uot;The children learn about life in the fire station and the workings of the fire department,&uot; said King. &uot;This is all a part of the &uot;Risk Watch&uot; program in Suffolk’s Public Schools and this has not only been an educational experience but I think all the kids enjoyed it.&uot;

For more information on the Fire & Safety Camp or other fire prevention programs, contact Judkins at 923-2110.