Firefighters on Wednesday donned new uniforms, and took to the streets to kick off a new community outreach program.The program, made possible through a Federal grant received by local Fire & Rescue late last year, is dubbed “Clowning Around with Fire,” and engages kids in fire safety and prevention through the clown arts.
“We have been searching for a way to reach kids, I mean really reach kids in a language that they can appreciate and understand,” Lt. Lynchbin told Callthecops.net. “We believe the Clowning Around program will impact kids on a whole new level.”
After a devastating apartment complex fire in December of last year, which took the lives of four senior citizens, was found to have been caused by a child playing with matches, firefighters began brainstorming ways to make a lasting impression on neighborhood children when it comes to fire safety.
“We realized that kids don’t respond to puppet shows and Dalmatian mascots,” Lynchbin said. “The only thing you can do to make them understand is to literally scare the piss out of them. That’s where [the Clowning Around program] really stands out from the rest.”
Parents with extra changes of pants were standing by as dozens of firefighters dressed in clown garb tumbled out of the fire engine in front of Harrison Scott Elementary School Wednesday morning. The clowns wasted no time as they began shrieking and handing out candy with sweeping arm motions.
“Oh I think it’s a great idea,” said local mother Shirley Conway. “I brought all four of my kids and eight pairs of clean underpants. I mean, you can’t be too careful when it comes to fire.”
Events included fire breathing, axe throwing, surprise CPR demonstrations and face painting. Firefighters will be carrying their message to area schools every Wednesday morning throughout the month of February.
Additional Reporting by Drew Rinella