The Telegraph
Monday , August 11 , 2014
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Class apart at fire station

- Firefighters turn teachers for 26 kids

The Central Avenue fire station became one giant practical classroom for 26 children under 10, the youngest being just three, on Saturday as they relived Hello Fire Truck with real props and firefighters as teachers.

“Don’t play with fire… never let it go out of control,” a firefighter told the wonderstruck group of kids from several schools and kindergartens from the city during the tour of the fire station.

“My twins Vivaan and Vedant (students of The Heritage School) were so excited at the prospect of visiting a fire station that they were up at seven in the morning. They have read Hello Fire Truck and the thought of seeing one up close thrilled them,” said Bali Sanghvi, who had organised the programme, Active Little Readers’ Junior Fire-Chief, along with Nishita Garg and Swati Jhawar.

The “class” had a red fire engine with a metal bell on its roof and wild whoops went out when the children were called for a ride.

Sanghvi’s organised the visit to build awareness among children on how firefighters contain fire incidents.

“We try to give kids a real-life experience of things they read about. We plan to take them to a police station, aquarium and a vet’s clinic too. Kids love such practical lessons,” said Sangvi.

The event began with a quick reading of excerpts from the book Sparky The Fire Dog to get the children clued in. And much to their excitement, a real puppy ran in — almost jumping off the pages of the book.

Firefighters taught them about various categories of fires, the best medium to douse raging flames and what should be done in an emergency. Station officer Imran Qureshi and fire operator Ratan Mondal told the children the use of extinguishing mediums such as water, foam and blanket to douse various flames.

The children, as well as the parents, tried their hands at portable extinguishers during the live demonstration session of the hour-long tour.

The kids learnt about liquid carbondioxide, which is used to put out flames and which cause minimum damage to valuables such as books, computers and jewellery.

Dipak Kumar Ghosh, the officer-in-charge of Central Avenue fire station, said: “We visit schools and colleges to spread awareness on fire. We hope simple first-aid and firefighting knowledge will reduce casualties in an emergency. It takes time for firefighters to reach an accident area.”

Besides live demonstrations, the firefighters showed the kids several types of tools they use to cut trees, and break doors and even walls that come in the way during an operation.

The best was saved for the last — a peek-and-ride on a fire engine.

Excited cries filled the station when the children trooped into a red truck, inspected the interior and rang the bell. The parents, equally excited, went click click.

“Why can’t all lessons be so much fun?” wondered Raveer Jhawar, a student of Young Learners.

At the end, the children got a certificate and a gift.