Rondel has a deep and abiding love of firetrucks. As an infant, one of the first imitative sounds he ever made was a firetruck siren (seriously – he was 5 or 6 months old, sitting there with his toys, making siren noises!), and now, if he hears a siren coming, he runs to the big window upstairs, asks to go outside, or (if we are outside) almost frantically tries to get to the nearest road in case it is going to pass by. We live less than a mile from the biggest station in our city, so we hear and see the trucks fairly often, but I wondered if there was a way to see them up close and personal.
To my delight, I discovered that our city offers free tours of the fire station as long as you have a group of 6-20 people! Completely against my personality and preference as a shy, logistically-challenged individual, I recruited some other families I knew, called the fire department, and set up a date.
The ladder truck (the biggest fire engine) had to leave for a call just about the time we arrived for the tour, so the firefighters showed us some of the other vehicles – the support trucks, the IT van, and the community care ambulance. That ambulance is one of the more fascinating and unique things about our fire station. Using funds from a federal grant to study ways to reduce health care expenses, they converted the ambulance into a sort of clinic on wheels, and take it to low-level 911 calls that would otherwise have resulted in an ambulance trip and an ER visit. (This type of call can include a headache, a baby’s fever, a cut that might require stitches, and so on; the firefighter who helps staff the community care vehicle told us that we would be surprised at the calls that come in.) In addition to providing immediate medical care with the onboard physician’s assistant, they can provide basic health education to equip people to deal with non-emergency situations on their own in the future. It’s a pretty awesome idea and I hope it makes a difference in our community!
The boys weren’t quite as interested in the community care concept as I was… fortunately, the ladder truck returned and they were able to check it out! Rondel walked around the whole truck with the firefighter, listening to him explain about all the different tools stored in each compartment on the truck (the ladder truck carries some heavy-duty equipment for cutting through roofs or into cars). He wasn’t so sure about sitting on the front of it but he let me get a picture at least.
The icing on the cake was when he realized they would let him sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to drive the truck. I don’t think he ever wanted to get out!
It’s a little hard to see, but his jaw is dropped open in awe or disbelief here. This was the moment he reached out and grabbed the steering wheel for the first time – I think he thought he was literally driving the firetruck.
True to my aforementioned logistically-challenged self, I scheduled the tour at a time that overlapped with Limerick’s morning nap (in my excuse, I had to schedule it a few weeks in advance and he was transitioning from 3 naps to 2 at the time). He probably would have enjoyed it a lot more if he hadn’t been so tired; he spent most of the hour-long tour sitting in his stroller just watching everyone else. He did get to check out the second-row seating in the ladder truck though:
He was loving it despite his exhaustion when – of course – they got another emergency call and we had to whisk the kids out of the truck. Oh well. I’m sure we will go again sometime! The firemen were incredibly welcoming and friendly, and very accommodating to the little kids (my friend with older kids canceled last minute, so we only had toddlers and babies). So thank you very much, Mesa Fire Department! You rock!
Don’t forget to head over to Like Mother, Like Daughter for the link-up today!