By Daniel Brunty The Winston County Journal
With the program being such a success last year, the Louisville Fire Department held their 2nd annual Camp Fire Academy from June 18-22.
Last year’s Camp Fire Academy started a solid foundation for teaching fire safety in the community. With such a large and positive feedback from parents and other community members, it was essential to bring the program back and further expand on it. This year’s program featured 33 kids, almost doubling last year’s total.
The Fire Academy for Kids program gives the youth of the community lessons and regarding fire safety using fun but educational activities and demonstrations. It also gave them a chance to see what it’s like to be a fireman as well as their life on duty.
Leading the program for the second year was Shift Leader/FLSE Detrick Sanders, who enjoys working with the youth of the community. “I enjoy working with the kids outside this program,” Sanders said. “I get a chance to get out a lot and go to the schools, day cares, and churches to talk to the youth. I think they get a lot out of that as well as this program. A lot of times when I go out and see them in public, I ask them questions regarding things we covered. They can answer the questions, so they seem to have grasped the knowledge.”
Also assisting Sanders in instructing the campers this year were career firefighters Michael Moorehead, Mike Towne, and volunteer firefighters Tracy Grabber, Joel Triplett, and Ty Hardin. The instructors were also were thankful for the help from Preston Chase, Tyki Gladney, Zuria Nicholson, Brooke Moorehead, Luvetrius Griffin, and Kimberly Carter for their assistance with the campers over the week.
The camp dates last year was for only for three days. This year the program was extended to five days, allowing the camp personnel to add more activities and demonstrations. “This year, I was able to promote the program in the schools early,” Sanders said. “I took applications there so all the kids could have access to them. I had a lot of parents who wanted to enroll their children, but didn’t meet the deadline.”
The first day of the program began with a welcome and introduction to the campers, as well as students familiarizing themselves with each other. Most of the activities for the rest of the day consisted of giving the campers a walk-through such as assigning groups, covering rules and safety, and identifying the fire exits and safety zones. Students were also given a pre-test on the first day on fire safety, in which they would compare to a post test given later in the week.
The second day started out with physical fitness drills for the campers. Next was discussing fire safety and EDITH (Exit Drills in The Home). Other fire safety exercises performed on this day were practice calls to 911 and exit drills.
The third day was filled with many activities, beginning with a discussion regarding fire extinguisher. They were showed how to use a fire extinguisher, the different kinds, and what it can be used on.
Next, the campers were visited by LifeCare EMS paramedics Kyle McCormick, Perry Poole, and Joshua Garrett. The paramedics gave the campers a simulation of an emergency call by giving an assessment to a volunteer from the group. The paramedics also showed how they would immobilize a patient for an ambulance ride. Next, the campers were given a tour of the ambulance itself and showed the equipment on board.
Following the visit from LifeCare, the campers were given a visit from the MedStat EMS Air Crew members Jason Bosarge and Lois Eskridge in the MedStat helicopter. The campers were really excited about the visit, and were given the chance to sit in the helicopter to view its equipment and features. The air paramedics explained how they use their equipment as well as how they transport patients through the air.
On the fourth day the campers were shown fire safety videos online, adding a new element of technology to the program. “We plan on doing a lot more with new technology to get the point across to children as well as their parents to be safe regarding house fires,” Sanders said.
Next up, Sanders gave the kids a demonstration on how to dress in a fireman’s suit, also known as the turn out gear. The campers learned how quick a fireman must suit up to respond to fires quickly.
The big event for this day was a visit from the Mississippi Department of Transportation, who came to demonstrate “Rover”, a truck cab that spins on its own axis at 35 MPH to simulate a rollover crash. The vehicle is used to illustrate the effects of the rollover crash on unrestrained occupants, hoping to teach children and others the importance of seatbelt usage.
The children were amazed as they seen the crash dummies being tossed from the vehicle as the truck cab did numerous rolls. The demonstrators on hand explained the uses of seatbelts, booster seats, and how to restrain younger children in a vehicle. The final day of the program featured the campers practicing their fire exit drills, which consisted of operating a fire extinguisher, going to their meeting place, calling 911, etc.
For the rest of the day, the campers got to enjoy the most exciting time of the week, Wet & Wild Friday. The children were given a demonstration on hooking one of the fire engines to a hydrant outside the fire department and hose drills.
Once the demonstration was over, the children took the opportunity to cool off on the hot summer day with shower of water from the fire engine. After the fun and games, the group dismissed for the day, later to return that evening for their graduation.
At the graduation ceremony, the instructors presented the helpers for the week with camp T-shirt for their hard work and dedication to the children. Then LFD Chief Terry Johnson addressed the parents and campers about the importance of taking what they learned and apply it in everyday life. Johnson also thanked all the parents for allowing them to attend the program.
Next, the campers were presented with their certificates, as well as firemen hats to go with their camp T-shirt. Once the ceremony was over, the campers and parents were given a cookout and social gathering, which featured a tour of the fire department for those who were interested.
The Louisville Fire Department would like to thank all their sponsors for this event. They were the City of Louisville, MS State Department of Health, Crowson Auto World, Bullock Toyota, Vowell, Co-Op, Uptown Lily, Inc., Fair Propane Gas, The Louisville Banker’s Association, Alfa Insurance, Dean Miller Election Commissioner Dist. Three, and the City of Louisville Fire Association.
They would also like to give a special thanks to all the parents for allowing their children the opportunity to attend the Camp Fire Academy, and remind them to practice fire safety at least every three months.