By Julianne Mosher
Children watched and cheered in awe as their principal, Tom Meehan, climbed to the top of a fire ladder parked in the back lot of Edna Louise Spear Elementary Friday, Oct. 4. He flew above the kids, dressed in his volunteer firefighter uniform, to help teach his students about fire safety and prevention.
Along with Meehan, several members from the Port Jefferson Fire Department came to the school with two large fire trucks to show kids that firefighters aren’t scary and, instead, they’re here to help.
“We don’t want children to be afraid of the fire department,” Meehan said, “We’re here today to get them more comfortable with us in case there’s an emergency.”
Meehan added that the volunteer firefighters have been visiting the school for about nine years and have unfortunately visited the homes of students in the past. The event on Oct. 4 helped get the kids excited to see the department, including five-year-old Logan Devine who excitedly compared them to superheroes.
“Firefighters save persons from fire,” the kindergartner said, “They help us like Spider-Man!”
During the fire prevention event, those in uniform let the kids high-five them, let them play with the fire hose and question them on what they know about fire safety. The kids were reminded on what to do in case there is trouble, like dialing 911.
“It’s important to show the community that we’re here to help,” Christian Neubert, a music teacher with the school and volunteer fireman, said. “We take pride in it and take it seriously.”
Neubert added that the Port Jeff Fire Department is made out of 100 volunteers, many who are lifelong community members. Men and women from all types of career paths are on call, ready to help out, and new members are always welcomed.