Nee-nah, nee-nah - that's the sound we echo every time big red charges through the neighborhood. The children's fascination with firetrucks is no wonder. We're curious too. Our wooden model at home just isn't the same.
So we wondered - what would it take for us to visit a firehouse? Try on a fire fighter's hat? Or maybe.... even meet one? Do we have to be apart of a school group? Make reservations?....
The questions left us content for now as we figured the kids will go one day when they're older and in school. But leave it to Dynamo-Dad Aaron who wanted to experience this for himself with the kids first. So on this typical afternoon, while on a mission to complete the weekly errands with the kids out of the house while I worked, he decided to stop by a firehouse and find out about tours.
Lieutenant Campbell of station #28 explained that anyone can get a tour. He just needs to know how many kids and for what date.
Aaron, holding both kids in his arms responded, "Um. Just two. And how about now?”
The Lieutenant smiled. It was as if it was Christmas morning for the kids. They grinned bashfully but curiously. He flashed the lights, let their small hands graze over the buttons, and even try on his helmet.
The tour was cut short at the sound of a siren – when an emergency was called in. The kids hopped off and saw the firemen jump into the truck. They waved to the lieutenant good-bye and in unison sang, “nee-nah, nee-nah” while watching them swoosh down the street.
What I love about this afternoon is how spontaeous it turned out to be. Sometimes lazy afternoons doing nothing can turn out to be the best one yet. And when the kids came home to tell me about it, they each sang "nee-nah, nee-nah" with so much more excitement. This was such a terrific learning opportunity, and I am humbled that station #28 thought so too.
More on Big Red:
To find a firehouse near you, search the site by zip code and call or drive by to experience the nee-nah up close. And for some great reads you can find at the library:
Fire! Fire! by Gail Gibbons
Fire Truck by Ivan Ulz
Maisy’s Fire Engine by Lucy Cousins
The Fire Engine Book by Tibor Gergely
The Little Fire Engine by Lois Lenski