I got a voicemail the other day from our local fire chief. After an incident in town involving a delayed ambulance, I had emailed our mayor about our own experience with our city's Emergency Medical Services years ago, and the chief wanted to discuss it with me. "If this is Fireman Max's mom, please tell him I say hello!" he said.
As if I needed any more proof that our firefighters are The Best.
Ever since Max decided that he would like to be a firefighter, exciting things have happened. Both of us became ambassadors for Kidde Fire Safety. We have also spent a lot of time at the fire station near our home, getting to know both the trucks and the firefighters. Max refers to one of the guys as his best friend. All of them have welcomed him and made him feel like one of their own. On his twelfth birthday, a few firefighters showed up at our house in his favorite truck and escorted him to his party.
Even if your child does not aspire to be a firefighter, there's good reason to get to know your local fire department. Because....
A fire station visit gets kids thinking about fire safety
Aside from taking in the razzle-dazzle of the fire trucks, when kids visit a fire station they can ask questions about safety and the work firefighters do (and likely pick up a coloring book and hat, too).
Kids can get comfortable with firefighter gear
Seeing a firefighter all decked out can be intimidating for young children, along with those of any age who have special needs; some have been known to run away from firefighters in emergency situations, out of fear. But when kids can see their tools and outfits, including their helmets and respirators, at the station or on firefighters, it can help make them less scared of encountering a firefighter in an emergency.
Firefighters are amazing confidence boosters
I don't usually like to generalize, but all of the firefighters I have met in recent years—both at our local station and in ones we have visited in our travels—have been incredibly welcoming and encouraging to Max. The ones at our local department have made Max feel like he is capable of doing anything, exactly the message we have always sent to him. In their eyes, he is a hero.
It's good for firefighters to know your situation
If you have any concerns about fire safety—whether an exit plan or a hazard—you can get insight and advice from your local fire station, and even schedule a free home fire safety inspection. If you have a child or other family member with special needs or who's elderly, you can ask that he or she be placed on a special list so the fire department knows where their bedrooms are located in the house.
(For more fire safety tips, check out these from Kidde and these from SafeKids).
We owe our firefighters appreciation
While our local firefighters are paid municipal workers, there's not enough money in the world to compensate them for the work they do. Meanwhile, volunteer firefighters protect more than 50 percent of Americans, particularly in rural areas. They all deserve props for keeping us safe, and stopping by to say hi or bring some home-baked treats is one easy way of showing the love.
This video pretty much sums up Max's relationship with firefighters.
For more on fire safety from me and Fireman Max:
9 summer fire safety tips for outdoor fun
Making a family fire escape plan for kids with special needs
What we learned from our home fire safety inspection
Protecting your family from a home fire
For additional info, check out:
Kidde on Facebook
@KiddeSafety on Twitter
@kiddefiresafety on Instagram
This post is one in a series sponsored by Kidde, for whom I am a compensated ambassador.