Junior Firefighter Camp Grows in Popularity
FMBA Local 27 members volunteer to run the program.
About 30 young firefighters searched a dark corridor and room on Monday for occupants who may have been overcome by the thick smoke that filled the residence. They checked firehouse equipment for readiness, learned about common emergency medical procedures and tested a fire hydrant and fire hose.
The activities were all part of the annual Junior Firefighter Camp — an Ocean City Recreation Department program for children ages 9 to 13. The camp introduces participants to fire safety, CPR, basic first aid and firefighters' tools and skills.
Participation in the camp has more than tripled since it started in 2010, and the growing popularity of the program is a reflection of both the children's interest and the enthusiasm of the instructors.
The camp is staffed entirely by Ocean City firefighters — members of the Firemen's Mutual Benevolent Association Local No. 27 volunteering on their own time to run the program. The camp runs three hours a day for four days at Ocean City Fire Department headquarters on the 500 block of Asbury Avenue.
Monday's sessions included instruction in tying knots, checking self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) and use of a thermal imaging camera (TIC). It included an exercise in the "smoke house," a dorm area of the firehouse filled with (harmless) theater smoke used to simulate what firefighters might find on a call.
Sessions for the rest of the week include everything from rappelling to a demonstration of the Jaws of Life extrication equipment.
A Monday session on emergency medical responses was interrupted — appropriately enough — by a real call, somebody unconscious on the Ocean City Boardwalk. And the calm and quick response of the firefighters around them was a lesson in itself.
The following FMBA Local No. 27 firefighters assisted with the Junior Firefighter Program:
V. DiMarco, R. Clark, M. Reganato, B. Wiltshire, M. Lowe, J. Furey, R. Sharpe, M. Slaughter, N. Leonard, M. Simon, J. Snyder, G. Karpiniski, G. Green, S. Goucher, J. Boyle, J. Neall, J. Quigley, H. Eckbold, B. Bender, D. Shallowitz, C. Vliet, B. Meisenhelter, T. Quinn, D. Coan, W. Clevenger, T. Young, K. Pollock, C. Brown, T. Shallcross, S. Murphy, A. Caine and C. Bowman.