Visit with firefighters helps Scouts see what firefighters do, learn fire safety and earn merit badges
The normally tranquil Orange Volunteer Fire Department station on Boston Post Road was filled with laughter and excited voices from groups of young Scouts as they learned about fire safety and performed tasks that firefighters often do.
Firefighters welcomed members of different Orange-based Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and packs to the fire station Monday night. Firefighters talked about fire safety and then helped them try skills ranging from handling a hose line to searching a smoke-filled room with a thermal imaging camera. Firefighter Angela Bachman also talked with the girls, telling them becoming a firefighter isn’t just for boys.
“Helping Scouts earn their merit badges is one of the fun things we get to do,” said Firefighter Robert Panapada, who oversaw the evening. “By having all the Scouts come on one night, we can set up more exercises, have more people here to help and give them a more exciting experience. And while they’re having fun, they’re also learning.”
In addition to using a thermal imaging camera in a room filled with non-toxic fog that imitated smoke, Scouts moved a bucket using a charged hose line, followed a firefighter through an obstacle course and practiced staying low to get out of a house filled with smoke. Parents looked on and chatted among themselves.
“Preventing fires and teaching people how to escape injury in case of a fire is as important to us as fire suppression,” said Fire Chief Vaughan Dumas, who was also at the event. “This is a great way for the kids to get to know us, know our equipment and not be afraid of us if they ever have to meet a firefighter during an emergency.”
Perhaps the biggest thrill for the kids, however, could have been when the evening ended with back-to-back fire alarms, sending apparatus out of the station with lights flashing and sirens wailing.
Fire prevention and public education programs are available to groups and organizations. For more information, call (203) 891-4703, contact the Fire Department at www.orangevfd.org or find it on Facebook.
The Orange Volunteer Fire Association provides fire protection to residents and businesses in Orange and, through mutual aid, surrounding towns. Members receive training in fire suppression, rescue, hazardous materials response, homeland security issues and other emergency services.
Operating strictly with revenues from fund-raisers and donations, the Orange Volunteer Fire Department is one of the remaining few all-volunteer incorporated fire departments in Connecticut. Active members are on-call to serve the community on a 24-hour/seven-day basis, responding from stations on Orange Center Road and Boston Post Road.
In addition, the fire company offers public education services including lectures, demonstrations and training. For information about membership, donations or public education, call (203) 891-4703, click on https://www.orangevfd.org/ or find us on Facebook.
- Girl Scout Adrian Alves, 6, of Orange handles a hose line with a little help from Firefighter Bryan
- Lisa Kaplan gets a little extra love as she leads Scouts on a hose maze designed to encourage kids to stay low if they must ever crawl out of a smoke-filled house
- Girl Scouts look at Firefighter Drew Panapada through a thermal imaging camera which is to help firefighters to look for heat generated by people or by hot spots in a smoke-filled room
- Firefighter Angela Bachman addresses a group of Girl Scouts about being a firefighter
- Girl Scout Dylan Zuffelato, 6, of Orange, reaches the top of a short ladder that is part of an obstacle course in the firehouse
- Cub Scout Timothy Barnes, 5, of Orange, reaches the top of a short ladder that is part of obstacle course in the firehouse