I took these pictures back in July when the German students from Lengerich, our Sister City, visited Wapak. Every year they tour the Fire Department, but this year, I got to tag along.
I was fascinated! I haven’t been in a fire station since I was a kid. I didn’t take pictures until I spotted all those buttons on a fire truck. I immediately thought of this blog! Sorry! We visited the living quarters first, but I didn’t think to take pictures.
Can you guess what I found next? Fire trucks! This station is full of them. Really!
I took the 1st picture looking down an aisle between the trucks. In the 2nd I peeked in the front window. I didn’t notice buttons, but I was amazed by that front seat. I bet it fits 3 or 4 people, but if they’re wearing fire uniforms, probably only 2.
This pictures show a fireman’s clothing locker. Would you believe he gains 45 pounds by putting on his clothes? YIKES! Can you imagine fighting a fire while you’re wearing an extra 45 pounds? In clothes? DOUBLE YIKES!!!
So why do the clothes weigh so much? Because every bit of it must protect the firemen. Look at the helmet. It’s not cheap plastic. It resists heat and protects him from falling objects.
See the turnout pants and jackets? The fabric has two-layers to repel heat and wick away moisture. Wick? What’s wicking? It’s pulling sweat away from the inner layer next to your skin, and sending it to the outer layer. Then both layers dry fast so you can keep your cool.
This fireman is dressed for action.
See the boots? They’re made of rubber so firemen won’t slip and fall. The toes and soles are reinforced with metal to protect their feet from sharp fragments. Gloves go on the hands and stretch past the wrist. They’re made of thick leather that’s padded with lots of insulation so firefighters can touch hot stuff when they fight fires.
Firemen also have 2 safety devices you can’t see. They wear an air tank like a backpack. A hose connects the tank to a mask so firemen have 30 minutes of safe air to fight fires. Many firemen carry a PASS. That stands for Personal Alert Safety System. It’s a lot like a life alert. If a fireman taps a button, the unit signals where he is. A PASS could save a fireman’s life!
With all their trucks and equipment, firemen need lots of tools to keep everything running. Do you see their toolbox? It’s tall and red with lots of drawers. My husband, the engineer, has one just like it in gray.
Do you see all the brooms? I don’t think of firemen sweeping and cleaning, but I bet they do. Keeping things clean is a good thing! It makes everything run better.
Firemen don’t just fight fires. Most of them are paramedics. Paramedics are the guys who work in an ambulance. They’re trained to take care of you , and they also drive you to a hospital. A paramedic could save your life.
Here’s a set of tools that firemen use. Dummies! Really! But they’re not so dumb. They help firemen practice life-saving skills like CPR. Paramedics do CPR when someone stops breathing, or their heart stops beating. Did you know paramedics have to take classes and tests to become one? I’m glad. I want a well-trained paramedic working on me.
I didn’t look inside an ambulance today, but this looks like what you’d see. Did you know that firemen make more calls as paramedics than as firemen? I was surprised to hear that. When I went to Germany and toured cities that were hundreds of years old, our guides said fires were once a city's biggest danger.
Why are there fewer fires today? Hundreds of years ago people had fire inside their home to cook and stay warm. It’s easy for a fire to get out of control, especially if you fell asleep before putting it out.
Today houses are built better, with fire retardant materials that are hard to catch on fire. Houses have better wiring. Bad wiring can cause fires. Also most houses and buildings have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. I have both at my house. I hope you do too!
This is everyone’s favorite part of the fire station…the poles. If you look at the first one, the ceiling is opening. In the second one, the fireman is sliding down, feet first. They make it look so easy! I’ve always wanted to slide down a pole, but I’m pretty sure I’d fall.
Here are our class pictures. The first one has all of our German guests. The second has our German students with the 4 firemen who made us feel welcome. Don’t look for me…I was taking the pictures!
At Wapak Sister Cities we’d like to thank the German teens for being great guests. We’d also like to thank the Wapak firemen for being great hosts and great tour guides! We look forward to returning next year with a fresh batch of German kids. The best part of the exchange is introducing the German kids and their chaperone to American culture, whether it’s the Wapak Fire Station or LaGrande’s Pizza.
For those of you who are frequent visitors to my blog, I’ll be off on vacation till the 11th. Check back then, and you can find out here in the world Rinda went. Have a great week!
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!