October 31, 2014 | 10 a.m.
By Suzanne McInroy, Director of Communications
Two Lake Johanna firefighters visited the Bethel University Campus Child Development Center (CDC) on October 22 as part of fire safety month in Minnesota. Firefighters Jeff Anderson and Paul Bergmann talked with children in the toddler and preschool classes at the CDC and then invited the kids to climb into the fire truck.
“The firefighters gave a safety talk and discussed the equipment they wear to a fire,” said preschool teacher Christine Berry. “They get dressed in all the gear, including the mask and oxygen tank, and talked about the importance of not hiding from a firefighter who is dressed in their gear. We also got to listen to the oxygen tank and the alarm on the tank.” For these children, who range in age from 16 months to 5 years old, the goal is to help them feel comfortable around firefighters so if they were in an emergency situation, they would not be frightened and hide from the firefighters, Berry added.
Beth Houston, also a preschool teacher, said the visit is also a learning experience for the Bethel students who are student teachers and student workers at the CDC. “The college students learn and re-learn fire safety, but from a young child’s perspective,” she said. “Understanding that the sounds can be scary, observing how teachers stay calm and clearly communicate during drills, learning to read our escape map, and observing our procedure when all of the children are out and we are checking numbers are all important to keep in mind.”
Houston also thanked the Lake Johanna Fire Department and the firefighters who spent time with the toddlers and preschoolers. They last visited two years ago and have always done a good job at talking to the children at their level, she said. The children enjoy the tour of the fire truck and especially the end of the visit when the firefighters extend the ladder and sound the sirens and flash the lights as they leave.