It was an exciting moment for more than 50 Early Childhood Education and Grade 1 students from St Joseph School when they visited the Cook Islands Fire Station at the Rarotonga International Airport yesterday.
The children were accompanied by their teachers and parents on this tour.
It was part of their experience to learn about fire safety and how to get fire wise to keep them safe in case of a blaze.
The children were given a glimpse of Cook Islands Fire and Rescue Services daily activities and had the opportunity to hop on the fire truck.
They learned about the role of firefighters who support other emergency service agencies in responding to fires, chemical spills, accidents, rescues and natural disasters.
There are fire stations in Puaikura and Titikaveka who all work together with the Rescue Fire Services to respond to emergencies, the children were told.
There are also many volunteer fire fighters in the community that give up their time to keep the community safe.
The visit included safety demonstrations, fire station tours and the chance to inspect equipment and trucks used by the firefighters.
It was also a great opportunity to speak to firefighters first-hand about fire safety in the home, including how to develop a home-escape plan to ensure they can quickly and safely escape in the event of a fire.
Firefighters also showed the children what they wear when they get ready to fight a fire.
The firefighters also took all the St Joseph students for a ride on three fire engines around the Rarotonga Airport.
For cousins, 5-year-old John Andre Tuiravakai and 6-year-old Arthur Nicholas, the experience was awesome.
“I loved the ride on the fire engine. It was lots of fun but you have to be a good driver and be safe on the roads, the fire engine is big. When there is a fire you have to get out, stay out and be safe,” said Nicholas.
“I loved the ride too and learning about how to be a firefighter. The firefighters said to listen, be good, be safe and learn. Thank you to the teachers, principal and firefighters for letting us visit. It was the best day ever,” said Tuiravakai.
St Joseph School acting Principal Shelley Berry said “these learning experiences are some of the most meaningful as many students learn by doing. Working with our community to provide mentorship to our students encourages them to strive for excellence and that with hard work our students can do anything.
“I sincerely thank the Fire Service for being so giving of their time to inspire our children and provide positive role models.”
After this visit, some of the little ones are already contemplating firefighting as a career.