Benjamin has been learning all about fire safety since he started preschool. In fact, so has everyone within ear shot of him. Benjamin has been talking non-stop about everything he has come to learn about fire, firemen, and fire trucks. Frankly, it’s a pretty impressive list of stuff to know! If you haven’t been around to hear him first hand, let me tell you what you’ve been missing….
It seems as though Benjamin’s obsession really took root over the summer, as Benjamin accompanied me to a roller derby practice, only to arrive and find out that we needed to take cover, as there was a nearby tornado touch down. At that moment, Ben decided he would investigate and learn everything he could about natural weather phenomenon. He would ask me questions about storms, tornadoes, and lightening. We spent time reading books about weather and watching YouTube videos on the subject. He’d pick one video after another, and soon he was well informed on tornadoes, cyclones, monsoons, whirlpools, magma, hot lava, volcanoes and cloud formation. He’d offer passerby’s random tidbits of advice, such as: “If you touch hot lava, it will give you fire butt, and you will die. You should not play in volcanoes.” We would frequently find him at the window, commenting on the sky’s color and the types of clouds and telling us what he expected the weather to bring our way. (And often times, he was actually correct!) I was starting to wonder if what I had thought was a great scientific observation and learning experience was becoming more of an unhealthy fixation. I was happy to read on some papers he brought home from school that is was actually a natural stage of development. (I mentioned this in my camping blog, also, to refresh your memory. http://wp.me/p17CVP-1C )
I found a story recently about a “fire tornado” that was spotted in Brazil, which was a rare event where a tornado was sparked during a storm in a very dry area. Somehow, that tornado had started a fire, that became part of the tornado’s spin, and left fire along it’s path. I waited excitedly to show him all day, and he was just as enthralled as I had hoped.
However, this little surprise for Ben backfired somewhat on me. While I was showing him fire tornadoes on our home computer, Benjamin was learning about fire and tornadoes drills at school. He came home and proudly announced that he learned how to get away from windows and get down safely if he hears a tornado alarm. He announced also that he knew the safest thing to do if you hear a fire alarm is to get out of the school and meet [his] class at the sidewalk. What he did not know, per his announcement, was what he should do in the occasion of a fire tornado. (Leave the building or get into the middle of it… very conflicting.) Apparently, he had asked his classroom’s interpreter, and was told that such a thing didn’t exist. And yet, clearly Benjamin knew he was wrong, because he had just seen visual proof of it the day before on my computer. I wasn’t really sure how to handle that… but luckily, I didn’t have to.
The next day, Benjamin got over his concerns about fire tornado safety, in favor of obsessing about about fires themselves. Ben learned his class would be taking a trip to the local fire station, and so they were spending the following week learning all about firemen and stations to prepare. (I fondly remember this from Jake’s days in this preschool class, as he had also loved this part of school.) Ben would bring home books and we would read them after he taught me everything he had learned. Much to his brother’s dismay, he learned the importance of fire hydrants, and he began to look for them and point them out as we drove from place to place. In case you’ve never taken a mental tally, there’s a fire hydrant on each block in town, which makes a lot of loud announcements in the van. (This gets under Jake’s skin, about 17 times each minute.)
Ben has taken the time to be sure that anyone he meets understands completely that firefighters save people’s lives and put out fires. Firefighters have red or yellow firetrucks, (mostly red) and they work like pumpers. You have to hook one end of the secondary hose up to the fire hydrant while hooking the other end to the fire truck. The the other hose needs to be hooked up to the truck so that the truck will pump the water out of the hydrant and into the hose. Fire trucks make a “Wooohoooohehoehhhh” noise and go fast to get to fires. Fire fighters sleep with all their clothes on, so that they can be ready when the alarm sounds “ding ding!”, and they have to slide down a big fire pole. They have to wear all of their gear, including oxygen masks, oxygen tanks, and big coats with big buttons. OH AND BOOTS! Never forget the boots…
Mostly though, Ben wants everyone to know right now that he intends to be a fireman when he grows up. In the meantime, if you’d like, you may begin calling him Fireman Ben.