Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Junior Fire Patrol Graduation

The 2009 graduates of the Exeter Volunteer Fire Department Junior Fire Patrol Program. Pictured from the left front row Instructor Jacob Miller, Katie Skinner, Haylee Sheffield, Lucy Murphy and Instructor Tammy Sladek. Second row from the left are Instructor and Assistant Fire Chief Ken Strate, Ashley Benorden, Samantha Horne, Trystan Brandt, LaCole Young, Instructor and Assisant Fire Chief Tim Axline, and Junior Fire Patrol Project Chairman, Ed Mark (Joan Strate is not pictured).

Instructor Tammy Sladek review the final exam with the students.

Instructor Jacob Miller helps Trystan Brandt try on bunker gear.

Assistant Fire Chief Ken Strate (left) and Assistant Fire Chief Tim Axline presented the new Junior Fire Marshal Ashley Benorden with her certificate.

The Exeter Volunteer Fire Department hosts a Junior Fire Patrol classes each fall during Fire Safety Month in October. This is the twelfth year that the Exeter Volunteer Fire Department has sponsored the Junior Fire Patrol for area fifth graders. This year there were eight participants.

The fire department puts the program on in the Exeter Fire Hall and the kids participate in four sessions. During the sessions the students plan a fire escape plan individualized to their home, learn about fire hazards in the home, learn burn prevention and first aid, and how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a fire. This year the students had an extensive evening of first aid training with Instructor Hope Androyna.

One of the most important lessons the kids learn is about the damage that arson causes and how to prevent fires inside and outside. Ed Mark is the Chairman of the Junior Fire Patrol project for the Exeter Volunteer Fire Department started the program in 1998 after researching it and putting the program together for the Fire Department to approve. "We wanted to help teach the kids more fire safety so we could save some lives. . .who knows what value it will have in their future lives."

The students have to attend every one of the four sessions and perform each assignment. Some of the assignments include fun, like running the water hoses on the department trucks, while others, like crawling through a room full of artificial smoke, are a much greater challenge.

If the students pass the final written exam, attend all the meetings and complete the other requirements then they become a junior fire marshal of the Exeter Fire Department.

After so many years of watching students take the junior fire patrol course Mark is still amazed at the fifth graders, "Every year they grab the information. The intensity level is amazing. They just want to learn. We have great kids every year."

This is the first year that a former member of the Junior Fire Marshall Patrol has become an instructor. Jacob Miller is a member of the Exeter Volunteer Fire Department and now is sharing what he has learned with these fifth graders.

Mark takes his educational information on the road as he has made it a habit to visit the third grade classroom of his daughter, Shelli Mueller, at St. Joseph's in York. He gives them a fire safety lesson and brings his gear for them to try on. Mark is also willing to share the curriculum he has created with other fire departments at no cost and hopes other departments will take advantage of this early educational opportunity.

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