Kids learn about fire safety, rescues at Limerick youth fire camp

Campers at Limerick Youth Firefighting Camp help transport a “patient” from the scene to a medical helicopter on Thursday. The demonstration was part of the week-long camp aimed at teaching kids about fire fighting, rescues and safety.
Campers at Limerick Youth Firefighting Camp help transport a “patient” from the scene to a medical helicopter on Thursday. The demonstration was part of the week-long camp aimed at teaching kids about fire fighting, rescues and safety. Marian Dennis – Digital First Media
Campers listened attentively as they learned all about fire fighters and first responders on Thursday. The week-long camp help at Limerick Fire Company welcomed 135 kids into the program this year.
Campers listened attentively as they learned all about fire fighters and first responders on Thursday. The week-long camp help at Limerick Fire Company welcomed 135 kids into the program this year. Marian Dennis – Digital First Media

LIMERICK >> If you happened to be near the Limerick Firehouse this week, you may have noticed a whole lot of activity going on.

Behind Limerick Fire Company, sirens wailed and helicopters could be heard making a landing as Limerick’s annual Youth Fire Camp, a week-long program now in its 5th year, taught kids about fire safety, rescue operations and the ins and outs of being a firefighter.

“Today they’re learning about all the different rescue tools that we would use so there’s putters and spreaders and rams and airbags,” said Limerick Fire Chief Ken Shuler. “They’re learning all the pieces of the puzzle and also learning about patient care.”

The week features a variety of different activities that allow kids ages 6 to 13 to get hands-on experience with real-life emergency situations including vehicle rescues, kitchen fires and medical emergencies. During a mock rescue on Thursday, campers, all donning their own Limerick fire fighting attire, got to learn how to evacuate a trapped person from a vehicle, how to transport a victim from an ambulance to a MedEvac helicopter and about the staging of tools at the scene. New this year, campers got to see the Phoenixville Dive Unit, the Forestry Division, a bomb squad, The National Fire Sprinkler Association and a demonstration on a confined space rescue.

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The camp will wrap up on Friday with demonstrations on how to fight kitchen fires as well as a course that will allow campers to show off what they’ve learned over the week.

This year, campers totaled 135, the largest the camp has ever had, and over the last few years, the interest in the camp has even encouraged some kids to go on to join a volunteer fire company, Shuler said.

“The applications were overwhelming this year. We probably have another 100 kids on a wait list,” said Shuler. “Kids come from all over for the camp. We’ve had kids come from as far as Florida. We know that many of the kids who have gone through our camp have joined fire companies. We’ve picked up several junior members from it and I know other fire companies in the area have as well.”

While the camp is open to children ages 6 to 13, interested teens can start training to be a volunteer firefighter in Limerick as early as age 14. The fire company offers a cadet program for volunteers ages 14 to 15 and a junior program for volunteers ages 16 and 17. At 18, volunteers can legally begin to go to fire school.

To learn more about Youth Firefighter Camp or becoming a volunteer firefighter, visit www.limerickfirerescue.org.