By Amanda Ensinger
The Prairie Township Fire Department announced that it will once again be offering its Reading with the Firefighters program. The program, which started in 2017, will take place at 7 p.m. on July 13, 20, 27 and Aug. 4.
“We open our fire station to children and their families, and our firefighters read to them,” said Prairie Township Fire Chief Allen Scott. “The program takes place for one hour and families really enjoy it.”
The program is geared toward children up to 10 years old.
Reading over the summer is important and often children will forget what they learned the previous school year if they don’t continually read. The fire department wants to promote reading and encourage children to continue to do it over summer break.
“We like to interact with the community,” Scott said. “This past year and a half we have only been able to respond to runs, so it is nice to be able to engage with the community again.”
The books the department will read to children will change each week, but at least one week a book will focus on fire safety. Firefighters will also perform activities with children during the program.
“We will give children a tour of the station and let them get a close-up look at our equipment,” Scott said. “Often this is the first time children have been in a fire station, so it is fun to show them around and they love seeing the fire trucks.”
Slowly the fire department has begun to open their doors to the community, after the novel coronavirus pandemic. Recently, the department held its annual fish fry and are now letting students ride along with them.
The department plans to host its annual Fire Prevention Festival as well this year.
“It will take place Oct. 17 and will feature food trucks, fire safety activities for kids and a variety of other things,” Scott said. “It is great to have our staple community events again and open up our station to the community.”
In previous years, the event has had an EMS helicopter on display, a smoke house, opportunities for kids to use one of the fire hoses and other engaging activities.
Scott added that despite the station opening back up to the community, they are still being cautious. First responders continue to wear masks and other protective equipment when responding to calls in order to protect themselves from COVID-19.
“Even though COVID isn’t gone, things are starting to feel normal” Scott said. “We feel it is very important to engage with the community and have a strong relationship, so we are excited to be able to put on some of these fun events again.”
For more information on activities at the Prairie Township Fire Department, visit www.prairietownship.org.