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Learning a lesson from Blue Earth Fire Fighters

By Staff | Oct 15, 2017

This is just one of the many groups of kindergarteners that visited the Blue Earth Fire Department last week.

On Oct. 10, kindergarten students from Blue Earth Area Elementary School paid a visit to the Blue Earth Public Safety Center as part of the Fire Prevention Week initiative.

During their visit, wide-eyed youngsters were given tours around the fire department facility. Upon arrival, students from different kindergarten classes came in separate groups and were greeted by several members of the Blue Earth Fire Department.

Ryan Vereide, a Blue Earth native and 10-year veteran of the BE Fire Department, served as the tour guide for the inquisitive children. As part of the tour, Vereide showed the kids around the massive garage that is home to all of the fire department’s emergency vehicles.

While in the garage, the excited students observed the various pieces of equipment the fire department has at its disposal, all of which are designed to help keep Blue Earth residents safe in case of an emergency.

The first fire truck Vereide showed to the children was the ladder truck number 335. Appropriately named, this truck is equipped with a large ladder, as well as a 300 gallon tank of water. If the onboard water supply happens to run out, the engine can be connected to a fire hydrant.

One of Blue Earth's volunteer fire fighters shows how to put on their equipment.

The next truck, and biggest truck the children had the opportunity to learn about, was engine truck number 331. This truck holds 500 gallons of water in its tank and is used during emergencies out on the countryside where additional water supplies from fire hydrants are unavailable.

Vereide also explained backup engine truck number 332 also holds 500 gallons of water in its tank. For a more hands on experience with this vehicle, fellow BE firefighter Bill Rosenau showed the children the proper way to handle the fire hose on this truck.

As for the grass rig pickup, Vereide explained how fire department personnel can actually spray water while sitting inside this vehicle.

Not only were the children excited with the entire presentation, but the firemen also enjoyed the experience as well. Vereide says the look on the children’s faces was priceless.

“I loved the enthusiasm and the excitement when we got to show the kids all of our cool tools,” Vereide said. “It’s great that we are able to teach them what to do in case of an emergency, and it makes our job easier if they are aware of what to do.”

One student practices how to escape from a fire in a house by staying low to the ground.

Firefighter Corey Survis was also part of the tour as he dressed in his full fire suit for the children to see. Equipped with fire pants, boots, a coat, face mask, helmet and air pack, the entire ensemble weighs roughly 45 pounds.

Although the outward appearance of a man in a full fire suit may be scary to young boys and girls, the goal of this presentation was to encourage children not to be afraid of the hard working firemen who wear these suits.

Students also got to practice a smoke simulation drill during the tour. Soap smoke from a fog machine was disbursed into a room and children were coached how to navigate through the smoke. Vereide got on his hands and knees and demonstrated how to crawl low to the ground and away from danger.

A gigantic pair of scissors and pliers also made their way into the firefighting presentation. Kept inside of rescue van number 334 for extreme emergencies such as car accidents, these tools are nicknamed “the jaws of life.” The massive tools captivated the attention of the youngsters in attendance.

Vereide estimates the pliers can unleash 20,000 pounds of force, while the scissors can cut with force of up to 30,000 pounds.

Kindergarteners also got to step foot inside the United Hospital District ambulance vehicle for an up close and personal view. When the tour was over, the children hitched a ride back to school in one of the fire trucks driven by firefighter Josh Nuessmeier.