Fire Distr. 3 gives WC Head Start a program in English & Spanish

At the request of W.C. Library Director Lisa Ramos-Vance, F.D. 3 Captain Dennis Jordan and colleagues entertained preschoolers on April 29. Titled "dia de los ninos; dia de los libros" (children’s day; books day,) the 10:30 a.m. program featured safety demonstrations, and book readings spanning two languages.
 

The audience arrived primarily from White City Head Start, conveniently
situated next door to the library that hosted the event. Youngsters
filed into a fire engine to explore it from the inside. Afterward, one
firefighter turned the water hose on to form an arc overhead as little
observers squealed with delight. 
   
The library meeting room
sported festive decorations, including balloons, and streamers.
Children sat enthralled as firefighter Damon Hoffman donned 
"turnouts," flame-resistant trousers, over his work uniform.
   
Bilingual
team member Javier Lopez repeated in Spanish each section of the
process through which Hoffman added protective equipment to his outfit.
Moments  before the assembly started, Captain Jordan had explained the
objective. A firefighter responding in full regalia, may look
frightening, like Darth Vader to a kid. If children get scared, they
might hide from us, he said. By viewing the gradual transformation into
the firefighting gear, youngsters recognize him as a rescuer.
   
Next,
firefighter Ian Kassab demonstrated face masks and outfits, and how
voices might sound through them. He crouched on all fours, calling out,
"Fire department. Is anybody here?" as might occur in an actual blaze. 
For the kiddies, this removes the fearful sting of strange-looking
objects. "If you’re inside a burning building," his team member  noted,
"this is what you’ll see and hear."
   
Firefighter/paramedic, Allison Jeffs, read the book, "Firefighters, A to Z" which began,  "A is for alarm, B is for boots," etc.
   
Coworker,
Scott Tures, then amused young guests with a reading of  "Dot, the Fire
Dog." This book’s protagonist, a helmet-wearing Dalmatian, rides along
with the crew. Dot detects the scent of a kitten in a blazing home. As
the humans perform their heroics, Dot rescues the furry pet.     
Lopez then took a turn reading from "Tito El Bombero," (Tito, the fireman.) 
He
switched from English to Spanish without hesitation or confusion.
Several of Head Start’s participants understood both tongues. In the
tale, a child named Tito dreams of riding along on a fire truck, but
can’t because he’s too young. When the alarm summons help for a medical
emergency one day, the distressed callers speak no English. Tito steps
up to serve as interpreter, thereby saving the patient’s life.
   
Captain
Jordan closed the festivities by walking through the crowd, and 
distributing pencils, ribbons, and sticker "badges."   
   
Throughout 
the entire hour the F.D 3 personnel remained at the library, Jordan
kept communication devices attached to his belt. Smiling young audience
members thanked him as they accompanied teachers across the parking lot
to their pre-school.
 By F. C. Blake
Of the Independent

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