Cortland Firefighter Camp Teaches Kids About Fire Service
Over 100 Cortland area youth got a chance Wednesday to learn what it means to be a firefighter. The Cortland City Fire Department in conjunction with the Professional Firefighters Association and the City Youth Bureau held a Fire Fighter for a Day Camp.
The day camp at Suggett Park included fire escape planning, firefighter activities, obstacle courses, water ball, and other games.
Kids ages 5-14 were divided into groups and worked their way through multiple stations manned by City Career Firefighters and Volunteers.
At one station children donned actual firefighter hazmat suits and were tested to see how they would respond to a series of pipes leaking chemicals, the so called chemicals were just water.
At the Birch Building in the back of the park, rescuers filled the building with simulated smoke to give children the feel of what it would be like to have to get out of a smoke filled room, or what firefighters do to locate someone trapped inside a burning structure.
City Deputy Fire Chief Wayne Friedman says the the camp serves multiple purposes, it can spark a child's interest in a career in the fire service but it also helps familiarize children with firefighters, their equipment and rescue techniques to ease their fears. Friedman says it's a great way for the Department to be more visible in the community outside of an emergency.
Youngsters were also taken for rides in a real fire engine and lifted high above the park on the City's aerial platform ladder truck.
Firefighter Derek Reynolds who serves as the career staff union rep says this was the first year of the camp and unfortunately due to overwhelming response some children had to be turned away, he says next year the camp is planned to run two days to accommodate twice as many youth.
Several area business including Graph-Tex, Geared-2-Sports, Coffee-Mania, Walgreens, and multiple companies within the Fire Department provided funding for the camp.