July 12—The kids smiled as Firefighter Steven Meyer showed each of them how to operate the hose in a "T," "Z" or "O" formation—common techniques used by firefighters to extinguished a blaze. The members of KIM—which is under the umbrella of Douglass Community Services and is a United Way recipient—checked out what life is like inside the fire station, toured the trucks and each made an escape plan to share with their families during a fire academy on Thursday, July 12.
KIM kids Lorin Kurfman and Damarion Williams said they both enjoyed operating the fire hose, changing the water flow from a wide "fog" pattern to a tight, focused stream.
For Lorin, it was fun to learn "how to control [the water] and to learn how they do it in the real world." Damarion said he enjoyed the chance to do something he "never experienced before." And as Captain Mark Kempker said, sometimes the "seed is planted" for a future career in firefighting as the kids learned about fire safety and what it takes to be a firefighter.
Damarion said that if his first choice of a career as a singer falls through, he would definitely consider becoming a firefighter.
"If I don't get in the career I want, this could be a good fallback plan," he said.
Both Damarion and Lorin proudly recited the fire escape plans they will each take back home to share with family members. Meyer said that teaching the children about fire extinguishers and how to formulate an escape plan gives them the position as "the leader in fire safety" for their families as they share the information they learned and the plan they created.
"When they get to contribute, they feel on top of the world," Meyer said.
Kids in Motion Program Director Amy Vaughn said members of the Hannibal Fire Department have joined Hannibal Police Department members as part of the KIM extended family, accompanying the kids for meals and assisting in activities such as the informative fire academy.
"We're really appreciative of the fire department for doing this for us," she said.