On April 24, we took the kids on a homeschooling field trip down to Fort Eustis to visit the fire station, and it turned out to be really cool. The kids were excited to meet real firefighters, and I got the distinct impression the feeling was mutual.
The fun started with a demonstration of the ladder truck in action. They raised the ladder to its full 150-ft height and had one of the firefighters climb to the top to wave down to the kids. Then the ladder was rotated 90 degrees and lowered to form a “bridge” from the truck to the firehouse, for a firefighter to walk across.
Next came a rundown of the various firefighting tools and a 30-minute video on fire safety. Jason was excited to acquire new facts for his trivia-drenched mind (at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, everything in your house that can burn will burn).
The highlight of the day was, no doubt, the rides the kids were given in a firetruck. Since we were on an Army base, which is more or less its own little self-contained world, it was possible to make several runs so everyone got a turn, and Laura even got to run the siren and blow the air horn to her hearts’ content. One can only imagine what chaos would be caused by 7 or 8 runs like that in the city.
As an added bonus, the boys and I got to ride in an electric car, one of two provided for the fire station as part of the government’s efforts to “go green.” This one was used by the fire chief to make his rounds and conduct inspections on base. It was amazingly quiet, practically silent, and not too bad a ride despite having suspension as rudimentary as that of the average go-kart.
For her part, Grace enjoyed flirting with the firemen, with Mommy’s friend Miss Heather and her boy, Liam, and especially with “Patches,” a robot dalmation in a remote-control firetruck, operated by a fireman hidden away in an office, with a microphone that let him talk to Grace. (“Hey, Grace…touch my nose! Ah-Choo!”).
In all, it was a great way to spend a Saturday and certainly an outing the kids will remember for a long time. So, a belated thanks to the guys at Ft Eustis Fire and Emergency Services. We had a blast!