LAUDERDALE LAKES — Nine-year-old D'Asia Butler has always wanted to be a firefighter. On Thursday, her dream became a little clearer..
Middle and high school students attending summer camps spent Thursday afternoon emulating firefighters from Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue at the Kids Firefighter Day Camp at Willie Webb Park."I learned all about how the equipment is used in the fire and I learned how they train to be a firefighter," D'Asia said. "I found out they have to carry people, so they have to stay physically fit."
The campers completed an obstacle course similar to those firefighters train with, took a tour of a fire truck and its equipment and knocked over a traffic cone using a firehose.
Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue hosts the program with public summer camps across Broward County, including unicorporated areas.
It is the day camp's first summer session, but District Chief Greg Holness said it will become a yearly program.
Holness said the camp works with children between the ages of six and 16, and has different tasks for each age group.
For example, younger children create fire trucks out of candy, graham crackers and frosting, which teaches them to follow directions. They also get to do target practice, using the firehose to topple the traffic cone.
Older kids, Holness said, participate in extrications, drag dummies and run an obstacle course that teaches them important firefighting skills, such as ducking under smoke.
"It's never too early to establish these safety skills and possibly even start recruiting future firefighters," District Chief Ken Kronheim said.
Lauderdale Lakes Mayor Barrington Russell Sr. attended, and said the day camp instills a sense of security in the community because it gives children an early understanding of responsibility in potentially dangerous situations like a fire.
The Kids Firefighter Day Camp can see between 50 and 100 children per day, Holness said. Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue has hosted four day camps since June and will host 10 more through July.
Mike Jachles, the fire rescue spokesman, said firefighters participate for a day to set a good example to the kids.
"How do you earn those badges?" one boy asked a firefighter, gesturing to the badges and other awards on his shirt. "They're issued to us for doing good things," the firefighter said.