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High School Flames

The Abington Township Fire Department holds its fifth annual Service Learning Day program in hopes of attracting volunteers.

About 30 Abington Senior High School students ran into a building filled with smoke …  and the Abington Township Fire Department hopes that some of them will do it again.

The Abington Fire Department held its fifth annual Service Learning Day program at its Public Safety Training Facility on Florey Lane Friday morning.

“It’s not a training program; it’s more of a exploratory program for the students,” Abington Fire Department Accreditation Manager David Schramm said. “They sign up for it, and it’s something of a recruitment event for the fire department.”

The students were taken through several “stations” at the facility, including a display and explanation of the equipment on the truck; a hands-on fire extinguisher display; a hose display, in which students attempted to hit a tennis ball off a traffic cone with a stream of water; and the running-into-the-burning-building-while-wearing-fire-equipment display. (The burning building was filled with nontoxic, cold smoke, which is made from vegetable oil, Schramm said.)

Abington Community Service Specialist and Fire Inspector Jeff Glynn manned the fire extinguisher display; he turned the flames on a propane grill up to “11,” and instructed students on how to properly operate a fire extinguisher.

(For those of you keeping score at home, if you need to use a fire extinguisher, Glynn said to remember the acronymn “PASS,” which stands for “Pull the pin,” “Aim at the base of the flame,” “Squeeze the trigger” and “Sweep.”)

“They did good,” Glynn said after one of the students successfully doused the small fire. “I have more than 30 years with the Roslyn Fire Company and wouldn’t give it up for anything. This is our next group of firefighters.”

And the program works.

Matt Kruszewski, a fire fighter with the Weldon Company, said he got started by attending the same event.

“Four years ago, I signed up for this and went through it all,” Kruszewski said. “I’m glad that the school offered it.”

Schramm said there are quite a few students who have joined the all-volunteer fire department as a result of the Service Learning Day program, and added that he feels good about this cohort of students.

“It’s not for everyone,” he said. “But several of them are asking a lot of really good questions about the fire department.”

Eleventh-grader Giftin Manilal said, “I thought it was a really good opportunity to see the inner-workings of the fire department. I’m more interested in becoming a paramedic than a firefighter, but I figured this would be good experience for me.”

Ryan Teves May 30, 2011 at 02:16 PM
I love this type of thing... we need more of "getting teens out into the world." I bet the kids involved in this activity will remember this event long after they have forgotten everything they learned in algebra 2. Some of these kids might even become firemen and women. Very cool. Ryan Teves author of "In Defense of the American Teen."

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