The local firehouse is filled with heroes that children enjoy meeting, and a visit may be the highlight of your child’s week. Most fire departments enjoy showing off their equipment and the firefighters enjoy the fact that the admiring children will be awed by the equipment that they use in their daily job of keeping the community safe. Call your local fire station to see if visits are possible and try to arrange a tour of the facility as your next family day trip.
Drop in visits are usually not encouraged by the fire department because they are always in service and must be ready to respond to the next emergency that is called in. Because the fire department is such an important part of the community, they are usually happy to schedule a time to introduce themselves to the neighborhood and speak about fire safety and even give the little ones a glimpse of fire station life.
A prearranged tour of the fire department will give the kids a close up view of the shiny fire trucks and the equipment the fire fighter use. The size of the fire hoses and the length of the extended ladders may surprise the kids when they are viewed up close. The screech of the siren that is sounded just for their benefit is sure to bring giggles of glee that tend to be contagious.
When you bring your children into the fire department, keep in mind that they are not maintained to be child friendly. The kids will need close supervision so that they don’t wander off on their own to inspect a dangerous area. Make sure that the kids know in advance that if the fire department is called out the visit is immediately over.
Fire departments often hold open houses as part of their community education programs. If a private tour cannot be arranged, ask when the next open house event is scheduled. These are often more fun that a privately arrange tour as they last longer and there are more fire department personnel on hand to answer questions. The community events usually mean that there is more equipment that is available for the public to look at and admire. The scheduled open houses are also more reliable because arrangements have usually been made for other departments in the area to respond to emergencies and the tour is less likely to be cut short.
A successful day trip to the local fire department is a fun learning activity as the child can’t help coming away without a better understanding of fire safety.