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Children learn life safety skills at junior fire marshal academy

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Elina Shearin, 10, carries a hose down a flight of stairs as a part of an obstacle course during the Junior Fire Marshal Academy on July 10, 2018.

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By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

More than a dozen fourth and sixth graders donned turnout gear and raced against the clock as they participated in the combat challenge during the Junior Fire Marshal Academy held at Greenville Fire-Rescue Station 6 Tuesday morning.

One participant acknowledged the difficulty of the challenge.

“I was worried about my time,” said Sophia Shoneman, 10. “Most of the boys were kind of slow. It's probably very hard to carry people to safety.”

The scaled-down combat challenge was one of the many activities held for youth at the weeklong academy which continues through Friday. The annual academy is free to participants.

The combat challenge reinforces the rigorous training firefighters must go through on a daily basis. After cooling down from running up two flights of stairs with a hose pack, swinging a sledge hammer, knocking down a cone with a fire hose and dragging a dummy several feet, participants cooled down by drinking water and going inside for other activities.

Other skills taught on Tuesday to the 26 participants included how to use a fire extinguisher, how to perform hands-only CPR, water safety and first-aid.

Starting Thursday, academy instructors will teach children about kitchen safety, how to escape a fire and how to make a paracord bracelet. On Friday, they will participate in a graduation ceremony and show off their newly learned skills to staff, parents and loved ones.

Shoneman said firefighters make a lot of sacrifices.

“This challenge showed me that firefighters have a lot of work to do and because they have to stay at the fire department for 24 hours,” Shoneman said.

“They make sacrifices for their family because they probably don't get to see them much,” she said.

Her reason for coming to camp was to have fun and learn.

“I wanted to come because we're going to learn CPR and stuff. And I'm very interested in stuff like that. It's interesting and fun to me. I want to be an ER Doctor.”

Katharine Gaulant, 11, who plays lacrosse with Shoneman, said this camp is a new experience.

“I was nervous because I had never done anything like this before,” Gaulant said. “So far this week, we've learned so much about what firefighters do and how important they are.

“In doing this obstacle course just shows how hard they work,” she said. “I have no idea what it would be like to have to do this on a daily basis. I always felt it was super important to learn stuff like that. That was a lot of fun.”

Her advice to others is to learn how to do CPR.

“Definitely learn CPR. It's so important to learn this stuff. You can save a life,” Gaulant said.

To learn more about the academy contact Rebekah Thurston, life safety educator, at 329-4679 or follow Greenville Fire-Rescue on Facebook for more information on the next session.

Contact Tyler Stocks at tstocks@reflector.com or 252-329-9566. Follow him on Twitter @TylerstocksGDR

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