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'Don’t be scared'

by CAROLYN BOSTICK
Staff Writer | March 29, 2024 1:00 AM

OSBURN — “One-nine-nine?” “Nine-one-one?” “One-one-nine?” 

It took a couple of tries, but after a few attempts by kindergartners to recite the number to call when an emergency happens, they were all in agreement. 

“Nine-one-one,” the Silver Hills Elementary students said in unison.

Hannah Dellinger and Kayla Turbak’s kindergarten classes were on a field trip to Shoshone Fire District No. 1, receiving a fire station-themed story time with Fire Chief John Miller and probationary firefighter Cooper Welk, a lesson in how to stop, drop and roll and an explanation of the different firefighting equipment and a demonstration of the new quint ladder truck.

The kindergartners learned earlier about equipment firefighters use to fight fires.

Later, while watching the new ladder truck extend to its full size, one kindergartner shouted out that he remembered its size was 100 feet.

Showing the students the items of clothing like turnout gear and oxygen masks the firefighters use, Welk made it more exciting by speed-testing how fast he could put on all of his gear.

The kids quickly caught on to the concept and began cheering him on. 

“Faster, faster,” they chanted in increasing excitement

When he had all of the gear on and was speaking through his mask, Welk addressed the kids.

“If there’s ever a fire and you see somebody who looks like me, don’t be scared,” Welk said.

Miller said the Osburn station wants to make the event annual for the youngest students at Silver Hills to get a tour and take all of the lifesaving equipment in with fresh eyes.

Miller showed the students how the water gun worked in front of the firehouse, setting off a powerful spray. Many of the students took off their new plastic fire hats to get a better view of the water gun at work.

“How much water do you think this holds?” Welk asked the students.

One of the fire engines carried up to 2,100 gallons of water.

Welk tried to help the students conceptualize a lot of water by recalling how big a gallon of milk looks and picturing a lot of gallon jugs together.

He opened up compartments in a fire truck to show the kids one of the most important tools of the trade, a halligan bar.

The halligan bars allow firefighters to pry, twist, punch or strike and were developed by New York Fire Department First Deputy Chief Hugh Halligan in 1948 to be effective and more lightweight than other multipurpose tools.

Miller hopes the experience gets kids excited to talk to their families about fire safety so they can develop a fire escape plan in the event of an emergency. 

    Kindergarteners Layla Lister, Macie Maravilla, Emma Bennett and Conor Clark cheer on Cooper Welk as he puts on his gear as quickly as he can.
    Cooper Welk shows the kindergarteners the inside of one of the Silver Valley ambulances.
 
 
  
    Probationary firefighter Cooper Walk shows Sawyer Murrell some of the equipment firefighters use during a field trip for Silver Hills Elementary School students.
 
 
    Madison Garcia reaches for a fire hat Tuesday at the Shoshone Fire District No. 1 station. Garcia was part of two kindergarten classes from Silver Hills Elementary School taking a tour of the fire station.