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Firefighters Build Relations With Preschoolers

Firefighters from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department Firefighters responded to preschool classrooms May 24 to help clarify who they are, and what they do.

During morning and afternoon sessions, preschool students at Evans International Elementary School in District 49 met three firefighters from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department. While they dug into topics of fire safety, the underlying point was to introduce the children to firefighters in a safe situation, according to teacher Ashley Pomales, who coordinated the visit.

“The children are learning that if there is a fire, the fire department is there to help,” said Pomales, a Head Start teacher for the Community Partnership for Child Development, which works with families living in poverty or challenged by special circumstances. Head Start supports children 3-5 years old in early education, along with their physical and behavioral health.

“The firefighters may look scary when they’re in their protective gear,” said Pomales, during the afternoon visit.

Bricyn Ward, apprentice firefighter from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department After a tour of Squad 1371’s brush truck, Bricyn Ward, apprentice firefighter, put on the layers of personal protective equipment worn while responding to home fires. Jermaine Frye, firefighter and paramedic, along with Ben Allan, firefighter, explained Ward’s helmet, hood, mask, turnout clothing, breathing apparatus and various other safety devices.

“One child was terrified, but he opened up — I kept telling him, ‘It’s OK, they’re our friends,’” said Pomales, watching him sit closer to Frye. “And now, he wants to be with them and their equipment — he wants to interact with them.”

Frye had taken a knee, facing the muster of attentive children. He showed them how to use the back of their hands to check a door for heat, a way to avoid hurting their palms and fingers.

If they ever experience a fire at home, Frye said to stay low and feel doors for heat before opening them, and never hide. They should run outside without looking back. If they cannot evacuate, he urged them to find the nearest window, open it and shout for help, while waiving a white T shirt when possible.

Jermaine Frye, firefighter and paramedic from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department “What if there’s a window that can’t open, so you can’t do that?” said a preschooler.

“If your window doesn’t open, use a tool or toy to break it,” said Frye. “But that’s the only time you can do that. Don’t do it for fun, OK?”

The firefighters emphasized a need for each child to memorize his or her home address and telephone numbers, as well as learn and practice exit drills.

“When you go home tonight, talk to your parents about your exit drill and meeting place, OK?” said Frye, as the firefighters finished with a focus on 911 calls, and why it’s important to never hang up on an operator. Even when calling by mistake, they urged them to talk with the operator.

“What if we call 911, but the aliens show up instead?” asked one curious preschooler.

“That’s not going to happen,” said Frye. “We’ll always show up.”

Cimarron Hills Fire Department personnel will host an open house Aug. 6 at the fire station on 1885 Peterson Road in Colorado Springs. They’re planning hands-on demonstrations and challenging obstacles with area emergency responders, including El Paso County Sheriff’s Office deputies and a Flight For Life team.

 Bricyn Ward, apprentice firefighter from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department

Jermaine Frye, firefighter and paramedic from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department

Preschoolers practice low crawling with firefighters from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department

Preschoolers practice low crawling with firefighters from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department

Preschoolers practice low crawling with firefighters from the Cimarron Hills Fire Department
Dustin Senger
dsenger@d49.org
719.499.5982