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Volunteer fire departments show Penn-Kidder students equipment, apparatus

Local fire departments gave Penn-Kidder Campus students a fun day of checking out their firefighting equipment. And they also taught important messages that could someday save a life.

Members of Penn Forest Volunteer Fire Company, Lake Harmony Fire Company and Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Company held their annual fire prevention week program at the school Friday morning.

“I think firefighters are really cool,” said Jacob Bittle, a third grade student at Penn Kidder.

Instead of teachers’ cars, the parking lot was filled with pumper, rescue and ladder trucks.

Students got to see what’s inside the seemingly infinite compartments on a firetruck and sit in the seats normally occupied by firefighters on the way to a call. They also got to watch their principal, Holly Mordaunt, and several teachers climb the 105-foot ladder.

The students each had their favorite piece of equipment.

“I like the tools, the thing they use to cut parts off cars,” said third grader Gianni Febbraio.

The fun underscored important lessons for the students, which could help protect them and their families in case of a fire. The firefighters taught them the importance of getting out of a house if they detect smoke inside; and ways to tell if there is a fire on the other side of a closed door.

“Seconds count, minutes count in a fire. If you teach them young, sometimes it’s that simple thing you tell them that they remember that can help save their family, or save someone else,” said Christain Evancho, a lieutenant with Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Dept.

The students peppered the firefighters with questions about how they would react in hypothetical situations - like a wolf attack and a fire occurring simultaneously in their coverage area, or a car which crashed in a location that couldn’t be reached by the 105-foot ladder truck.

The event also strengthens the bond between the volunteer firefighters and the community they serve. Firefighters know that emergencies are stressful situations, and interacting with a fully geared up firefighter can add to that stress for a child. But if they meet them in person, they will hopefully realize it’s a friendly face behind the gear.

“We’re teaching them about the people in our community and how they keep our community safe,” said Eunice Hansler, a third grade teacher.

Some of the friendly faces actually sat in the same classrooms as the students not long ago. So it’s possible that some of the students who took part in Friday’s program will one day join the ranks of their local firefighters. 17-year-old Gannon Getz said he got into the fire service because of family, but said it is a great opportunity for any young person.

“I want them to take this as an experience for when they get older, to help their community, and impact their community in the right way,” Getz said.

Christain Evancho, a lieutenant with Albrightsville Volunteer Fire Company, talks with Penn Kidder Campus students during the school's annual fire prevention program. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS
Penn-Kidder Campus Principal Holly Mordaunt takes a break to wave after ascending a 105-foot ladder during her school's fire prevention week program on Friday. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS
Rudy Johnston, a junior firefighter with Penn Forest Volunteer Fire Company, explained the different functions of the department's ladder truck to Penn Kidder Campus students. CHRIS REBER/TIMES NEWS