Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It’s gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight… FIRE FIRE FIRE!!!

It is time for another Girl Scout update! (The title of the post is from a fun Girl Scout song) I have been meeting regularly with a group of girls for about four months or so now. Since taking the job at the high school I have had to reduce Girl Scouts to twice a month (first and third Wednesdays) in order to preserve my sanity, but I promised the girls that I would work very hard to make sure our time together is great! Last time I arranged a field trip to the fire station to check out the truck, and talk with Colin, the department’s lieutenant, about fire safety on Yap.

I met Colin, another American expat who came to Yap after we did, through Mike, who met Colin through his work duties. When I met him, I immediately asked if I could bring the girls by for a tour and a fire safety talk. None of the girls had ever seen the truck up close, though we all pass by it at the station regularly. They were excited to see how it works, and of course to turn on the sirens. 

When I arrived with myDSCN0020 six girls (and two boys) and a mom in tow we were shocked and saddened that the trucks weren’t there! It turns out Colin hadn’t been informed of a “live fire” practice drill that took place that day, where they set fires and extinguished them.  He assured us that the trucks were just getting water, and would hopefully return soon. Colin took us into his office and showed us around, showed us fire fighting gear, and talked about stop, drop, roll, (and newly added) cover (your face).  I was also impressed how he encouraged the girls by telling them girls can be fire fighters too! We all hoped that the trucks would soon arrive.

He gave the kids a tour of the station, explaining what different tools were for and how fire extinguishers work. He offered, that if they ever need to shoot off expired extinguishers to refill them, that he would invite us to come and learn how to actually use one! I have always wanted to do that! The kids were in awe, and listened intently to everything Colin had to say.  They asked very good questions and seemed genuinely interested in the answers. I smiled from ear to ear the entire time.

I don’t remember going to a fire station at a young age, but I am sure I did. I do remember going on my dad’s submarine and how amazed I was by that. These kids were impressed, and the trucks hadn’t even arrived yet!

Colin killed time by showing them all sorts of things such as hoses,DSCN0023 folding ladders, axes, and the like, while he and I kept looking over our shoulders for the trucks. We had pretty much exhausted all topics, and were about to call it an evening, when low and behold Andrew, our 6 year old troop mascot (and little brother or cousin to half the troop) yelled, “HERE COME THE TRUCKS!!” Their eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning! They waited as patiently as possible as the trucks were parked in the station before the kids could explore them.

Colin was amazing. DSCN0029He piled all 8 kids (Zoya and Andrew pictured here) into the cab of the truck and let them play with the sirens, horns and lights. Oh to be young again! What an exciting thing for the kids to do, and apparently a rare treat on Yap. Colin talked with me some, and mentioned that he goes to the schools and talks, but this was the first time any kids had come to see the trucks since he got here shortly after we did. Colin explained all sorts of things about the trucks, and answered the incessant questions the kids threw his way, mostly of the “what’s this? what does it do?” variety.

He talked about being a firefighter and told a story DSCN0030about how once his oxygen tank ran out of air and his mask suctioned to his face. I could tell there was more to the story, but maybe it wasn’t appropriate for such a young audience, another time perhaps. He did make the warning siren on the tank go off so we could hear it. Fire fighters have such a noisy job!

I was impressed that the kids attention was held for a little over two hours. They were so excited! I sat back with the mom who attended, Erica, my co-worker and Mike’s boss’s wife, who is the mother or aunt to all the girls (and Andrew) who regularly attend Girl Scouts, and we giggled at how impressed they were by this field trip. She has become more involved, to my relief. She even offered to arrange the activity for the next meeting.  I may have found a co-leader!

After checking out every inch of the truck, including the turret hose on the top of the truck that can shoot water 75-100 feet, we said our good-bye’s and a big unison “thank you” to Colin and his crew. But of course, we needed one last picture to remind us of our trip to the fire station! 

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