Learning About Fire Safety in Raleigh


4 minutes

Our cluster had a great time visiting the Raleigh Fire Department!
Our cluster had a great time visiting the Raleigh Fire Department!
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Kids love firefighters, and after visiting our local fire station in Raleigh, our au pairs now understand why! The Raleigh Cluster of InterExchange Au Pair USA visited Station #1 of the Raleigh Fire Department for our latest cluster meeting. Eleven au pairs joined Local Coordinator Suzanne Miller for a tour of the station, as well as the host family of a newly arrived au pair.

Rebecca from Ireland had a chance to try on the firefighter jacket.
Rebecca from Ireland had a chance to try on the firefighter jacket.
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Julie from France in the driver’s seat!
Julie from France in the driver’s seat!
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Fire Safety Tips

We discussed fire safety with Firefighter CW Langston, our tour guide. He reminded us about “Stop, drop, and roll.” This technique is used in the event your clothing catches fire: you should first stop what you are doing, drop to the ground, and roll around to put the fire out. Langston also reminded us about the importance of having a meeting place at home where all family members know to go in case the house is on fire. Families will often use the mailbox by the street or a neighbor’s driveway as their meeting place. He suggested the au pairs talk with their host families about fire safety and practice a fire drill to meet by the designated meeting space.

Sparky the Fire Dog features fire safety activities for kids and the National Fire Protection Association hosts kid-friendly videos on fire safety.

These junior firefighters pretended to fight a fire in the driveway!
These junior firefighters pretended to fight a fire in the driveway!
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

A host dad and his daughter check out the driver’s seat of Engine #1.
A host dad and his daughter check out the driver’s seat of Engine #1.
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Discussing Fire Safety During the Home Orientation

During an au pair’s home orientation, host families and au pairs should discuss what to do in case of an emergency. Families need to be sure the au pair knows how to call 911 and give their name and address of the emergency. Host families should also go over the location and usage of a fire extinguisher and test the smoke alarm to be sure the au pair knows what it sounds like. This may even be a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors if the batteries have not been replaced in the past six months. Be sure to show your au pair how to open the home’s windows to use as a secondary form of escape, as window operation differs by region and country, and use any emergency fire ladders if the home needs them.

Leewayne from South Africa tries on the heavy coat and hat.
Leewayne from South Africa tries on the heavy coat and hat.
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Rebecca and Daniel check out the 70-pound airpack worn by the firefighters.
Rebecca and Daniel check out the 70-pound airpack worn by the firefighters.
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Rebecca from Ireland lifts the 70-pound air pack!
Rebecca from Ireland lifts the 70-pound air pack!
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Visiting Station #1

Station #1 is in the heart of downtown Raleigh and is the largest station in the city. It is home to Engine #1, Engine #13, and Ladder #4 trucks. The ladder truck is 64 feet long and requires a second driver in the rear to help it make tight turns. While we were there, the ladder truck went out on two calls and one of the engine trucks came back from a call. With over 6,500 calls each year, this is the busiest station in the city and they average 20 calls in a 24-hour period between their three trucks. At any one time the station is staffed by 16 to 17 firefighters who work a 24-hour shift and has three crews that rotate days. During our visit, Firefighter Langston demonstrated the firepole and allowed the au pairs to try on the thick coats and 70-pound air tanks they wear during fires.

A look inside the Engine #1.
A look inside the Engine #1.
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

Activity Ideas for Host Children

For a special activity during the summer break, au pairs may enjoy helping their host children make a special treat or card for their local fire department and deliver it to the station. It will be a fun field trip and a chance to say thank you in person to some of our real life superheros!

Julie from France tries on the coat.
Julie from France tries on the coat.
Image courtesy of Suzanne Miller

A Big Thank You

We want to give a big shout out to the firefighter at Station #1 who so graciously showed us around and let us explore the trucks, learn about their gear, and understand more about this lifesaving aspect of American culture. Thank you!

Suzanne Miller Suzanne Miller

Suzanne is the InterExchange Au Pair USA Local Coordinator for Raleigh, North Carolina.

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