Fire camp is serious fun

Published 9:12 am Friday, July 10, 2015

By Ron Semple

Special to the Enterprise

ADVANCE – Despite the blistering heat, 13 youngsters had a cool time at the Advance Fire Department’s 3rd Annual Fire Camp June 22-24.

The fire station’s outside thermometer reached 104º and some activities were moved to the air-conditioned old stationhouse or under the shade trees at the Advance Methodist.

Ronnie Robertson, fire school coordinator, said the rising fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth grade students were kept well hydrated.

“They were very engaged and participation was great. In fact, several showed interest in joining our junior firefighter program.”

One highlight was a simulated four-wheeler accident. Campers used their new training to take cervical control of the “victim,” stabilize him, immobilize him on a backboard, place him in a Stokes basket and carry him to an ambulance.

While congratulating themselves on a job well done, they were informed that they were “contaminated” by a deadly poison in the form of whipped cream. The team was rushed between two fire engines and “decontaminated” by a steady spray of water.

No one complained.

Another favorite was “saving the baby.” In full turnout gear and SCBAs the campers crawled blindly along a floor searching for, finding and rescuing a “baby” which used to be a doll.

The campers took turns manning charged fire hoses, they rose 85 feet up in the aerial ladder of Truck 12 with Advance Assistant Chief Will Holt and veteran Firefighter Jamie Hoffman and they got to ride in a fire truck.

“They quickly learned that no fire vehicle moves an inch until everyone is safely belted in,” said Robertson.

Paramedic Joe Ashburn taught CPR and Paramedic Roy Mojica made them familiar with  the equipment on the Davie EMS unit.

Pete Ressa of the Davie County Rescue Squad taught them how to immobilize a patient and use a backboard.

C.J. Dwiggins, assistant chief of the County Line Fire Department, showed them how to use the self-contained breathing apparatus  and Advance Firefighter Ryan Turner showed the campers how to use ropes, knots and fire extinguishers.

That came in handy when they had to put out a simulated fire with a simulated fire extinguisher. The rub was that the simulated fire wouldn’t go out if you didn’t use the extinguisher properly.

Assistant Chief Art Mote and Tony Collins, retired Statesville fire captain, showed the mechanical advantage of using ropes and pulleys to move a 150 pound tire which, of course, no camper could move before the demonstration.

N.C. Wildlife Officer Kenny Osbourne brought his boat along and instructed the campers in water safety. Bradley Collins, a lifeguard at Tanglewood Park, schooled them in swimming rescue techniques.

Another popular feature was the automobile driving simulator provided by Davidson County Community College. This let the youngsters get safely behind the wheel years before they are eligible to take the driving test.

Capt. Rick Hockaday’s crew worked to keep the kids hydrated and provided snacks and meals. Fighting fires—even simulated ones—induces hunger.

At the graduation picnic the campers dazzled an audience of about 60 family members and friends with displays of knot tying, CPR, bandaging, donning turnout gear and SCBAs, hooking up a hydrant and manning a live fire hose.

Advance Fire Chief Rodney Miller congratulated the graduates and presented them with their Fire Camp certificates.

Veteran Firefighter Andrea Stewart and Junior Firefighter Spencer Miller led the Red Team and Cadets Josh Collins and Alex Watts led the Blue Team.

Campers from Advance were: Chandler Allen, Logan Allen, Peter Bland,Jonathan Bowman, Baylei Cox, Rachel Dove, Julian Howard, Elana Lopez, Ben McGuire, Luke Morgan and  Vinnie Ressa. Camper Baytop Foster is from Winston-Salem and Garrett Wolford is from Mocksville.