Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Friday, July 01, 2011

Fire Dept. Field Trip

We took a field trip to the Manchester Fire Dept. on Merrimack Street this past Wednesday. By we I mean Mike, Brittany and myself. I couldn't have done it alone. The boys get far too excited and overstimulated by these huge trucks and all the blinking lights and noises.

Last year, I (with Brittany) happened to stop at a station out of the blue asking if it would be alright to show my (at the time only 5) kids around. I explained that I have one with Asperger and one with many other issues related to sensory and anxiety and wanted to have them see up close and personal what firemen and firetrucks are all about. Those men were so welcoming and so great with the kids that when it was time to leave they told the kids that they could come back anytime. Well, in the world of Aspie's that means...tomorrow or the next day! So, for the last year, every time we've driven past a fire station the kids have begged for me to stop so we can visit again.

Fast forward to Wednesday. I didn't tell the kids about it until the last moment and even then it was difficult for them to contain themselves. Especially since we struck out twice. The first station we went too didn't have any trucks available, and the second station we went to had it's doors all locked. So that left us trying the "big" station. Immediately the kids were in awe at the sheer size of this station. It had not one big truck or even two big trucks but several big trucks to choose from.

Before I brought the kids in, I went inside to find one of the firemen and asked if it would be a good time to bring my 6 kids in to see the trucks and the men. He said it wasn't a problem and they would love to show the kids around. As I was returning with the kids to the station, they were pulling out one of the water trucks and unrolling a hose. They greeted the kids, introduced themselves and went about lifting kids up into the truck and letting them "drive" the big rig. Then one of the men volunteered to go through the steps of putting all of his gear on...right down to actually turning his oxygen on...so they could hear what his voice would sound like with all the additional noises and what his face would look like with the mask on. Mind you, it was kind of hot on Wednesday, but he didn't complain once about doing it. He took the time to make sure they were comfortable and could ask questions. This was great for Josh who was very concerned about the noises. He stood by me the whole time, very rigid but ready to bolt if he got scared. He stuttered through his questions, but managed to ask the fireman why he needed to do all of that, and what all of the tubes for. (They do look kind of scary from a kids point of view) He answered the questions through the mask so that Josh could hear it and hopefully get comfortable with the sound.

Then the fun really began...they "played" with the hose. They put it on the lowest pressure and all five kids got the chance to turn the water on and squirt the water everywhere. After they all had their chance, the men put the pressure up and showed them the true force of the water and how it takes more than one man to control it. Naturally, everyone got wet...and why not? Where's the fun in staying dry on a really warm day when your playing with water. Even Sarah got "rained" on sitting in her stroller watching everyone run around having a great time.

We stayed for about an hour and the firemen were so patient with the kids. Again, they told them they could come back anytime, but this time it was Josh who said, "so, we can come back tomorrow and the next day?" They told him that whenever we were in the area, to stop in again and make sure they bring their fire hats.

We hope to go back again in August and this time the kids want to climb all over the ladder truck too. Thank you to the Manchester Fire Dept. for taking time out of your busy days to educate, and play with my kids.

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