Today we visited the Bartow Fire Department. We usually go to the one near our house once a year with playgroup, but I have heard time and time again how much better the Bartow tour is, so I signed up as soon as it was announced as an official field trip. In fact, we skipped playgroup last week (gasp - I never miss an excuse to get out of the house) because they were going to the Lakeland station.
There were definitely pros to this tour - the kids got to use a real fire hose and rescue a training dummy. They also got to walk into a dark, smoky room and see a demonstration of the special camera the firemen use to find hot spots inside walls and/or people trapped in a fire. The man said each camera costs between $30,000 - $40,000 - yikes! They didn't get to see inside the building where the kitchen and sleeping quarters are like on the Lakeland tour. And we missed being with all of our church friends.
They talked a lot about fire safety (don't play with matches or lighters, stop drop and roll, establish an escape plan for your home that everyone is familiar with, etc.) One interesting fact they told us today - the Bartow Fire Department covers a larger area than NYC, yet they only have 4 - 6 people responding to a single-story house fire... whereas in NYC there would be at least 20 for the same size fire. Crazy!