Ocean City Junior Firefighters Camp Teaches Lifesaving Skills

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first_imgWhat young lad hasn’t dreamed of riding on a fire engine?The Ocean City Fire Department makes those dreams a reality each summer with its Junior Firefighter Program and Camp.This year’s camp runs from 9 a.m. to 12 noon for four days beginning July 18th through the 21st.The camp, for children aged 9-12, stresses fire prevention, safety and gives the campers a sense of what is like to be a firefighter in America’s Greatest Family Resort.Among other activities, the camps have the opportunity to ride in a fire truck, squirt the hoses, climb ladders, don the firefighters’ equipment, crawl around a “smoke” filled room, rescue a “victim” and learn and practice CPR. They also interact with firefighters up close and personal to see what a firefighter’s job is all about.The camp, which operates through the Ocean City Recreation Department, attracts a mix of summer visitors and local residents, according to OCFD Captain Vito Di Marco, the camp director.Parents interested in the camp may obtain further information and register by going to the City’s website: www.OCNJ.us and searching“We try to let them see what it takes to be a firefighter and to experience some of our activities,” DiMarco said. “Some of the kids have made friends with other campers and come back year after year and look forward to seeing the firefighters and their friends. We look at the camp as a great tool for community outreach and connecting with the people we serve.”Campers, usually about 30 in total, are broken into “companies” that work with specific firefighters. They experience action-packed days in which they go to different “stations” for specific activities and skills. One might deal with fire prevention and safety, such as learning how and when to call 911, eliminating fire hazards in the home and performing CPR. Another station could be climbing a ladder, another pairing up with the Ocean City Police for a ride on the police boat. They also get a lesson in boating safety, DiMarco added.Another station simulates a smoke-filled room, using machines that emit a non-toxic smoke. Campers use air packs to breathe as they crawl through the room and locate a mannequin “victim” and rescue it.Yet another demonstrates rappelling down from a height.“One of the things we do is try to keep the camp exciting and keep things moving along quickly,” DiMarco said. “Some of the kids might be nervious about climbing a ladder or getting on the boat. We try to help them gain confidence in themselves by letting them know they can do these things and overcoming their fears.”Now in its sixth year, the Junior Firefighter camp is made possible through the volunteer efforts of the firefighters, DiMarco said. “Each day we have as many as 15 firefighters working with us on their own time,” he said.  Without that cooperation, none of it could happen.  The guys are really great about helping out.”No matter how the activities are shuffled around, one thing remains a constant: “We give them a ride on the fire truck every day because the kids just really love that,” DiVito said.last_img read more