January 20, 2022

Children get lesson in safety

Firefighter Day Camp

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Sidney air ambulance pilot David Mulhauser offers kids, including Jacob Rawson, 5, of McGraw, left, and Lucca Giacco, 4, of Cortland, a view of the inside of his Eurocopter AS350 Thursday during Firefighter for a Day camp at Suggett Park in Cortland.

As the blades whirled, making the winds faster, Lucca Giacco didn’t take his eyes off the helicopter preparing to land in the middle of Suggett Park in Cortland.

A chance to peak inside excited the 4-year-old even more as he walked with his dad over to the air ambulance, curiosity lingering on his face.

Lucca was one of more than 100 kids participating Thursday in Firefighter Day Camp. The camp was started in 2014 when the Cortland Fire Department contacted the city Youth Bureau after seeing a similar, but smaller, camp online.

The Cortland camp gives kids a way to experience what firefighters experience every day. It takes five months to plan, said Andrea Piedigrossi the youth bureau’s recreation supervisor.

During the daylong event, kids 3 to 8 took part in five stations. It included everything from an ambulance tour or fire engine ride to a smoke house, where kids had to enter a building full of smoke and find their way through a maze to rescue a dummy.

“I went into the smoke house with a pretend person I got and brought them back out and saved their life,” Lucca said.

He also enjoyed learning how to work the fire hose and was surprised when a rainbow formed from the sunlight hitting the water.

Juliana Rawson, 7, learned she should never leaving the kitchen when something is cooking.

For others, the day camp was all about checking out the fire equipment and what they could do.

Maddie Gorman, 4, and her brother, Bennett, loved the ride-along in the fire engine.

“It was like a monster truck,” Maddie said.

Parents also tagged along with their kids to see what the camp was all about. Ryan Allyn brought both his sons, 8-yearold Wyatt and 6-year-old Jasper. Wyatt was supposed to participate in Wednesday’s camp for older kids but it was canceled because of weather. Instead he joined his brother and got a preview of the activities.

“I did learn the stop, drop and roll,” he said.

Ryan was happy there’s a community event that engages kids and lets them get to know first responders.

“It’s nice for them to see people they can look up to that are real heroes,” he said.