PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, Calif. (Aug. 3, 2021) – When members of the Presidio of Monterey Fire Department visited the Monterey Cub Scout Camp here July 29, they continued a time-honored Scout tradition of teaching through active participation.
Not only did the firefighters answer questions about a fire truck they brought to the camp, they allowed the Scouts to climb into the cab and sit in the driver’s seat. Then, in the department’s Fire Safety and Prevention Trailer, Scouts received hands-on training in interactive rooms and practiced escaping a fire through a window.
“It’s been wonderful to have the Presidio of Monterey Fire Department come out,” said Darcy Fowler, director of the four-day camp that began July 26 and drew Cub Scouts from around the Monterey Bay area. “It’s really great to teach kids about fire safety, not only outdoors … but they’re teaching them about indoors also.”
PoM Fire Inspector Officer Jay Gonzalez said it is important for people to know the department conducts fire safety training for a variety of organizations throughout the region, and not just to Army organizations.
“Our goal is to make sure that we’re educating them, telling what needs to happen in case of fire,” Gonzalez said. “Call 911. Get out of the house. Where is your meeting point? By educating them, everybody is safe and everybody is living another day.”
The department’s 27-foot-long Fire Safety and Prevention Trailer includes interactive kitchen and bedroom scenarios that are complete with digital flame, smoke and sound effects. There is also a smoking toaster, a smoking outlet and a prop phone to “call” 911. In the bedroom, people can climb out a window and down a ladder.
Alexander von Benedikt-Fowler, 10, an Arrow of Light who belongs to Cub Scout Pack 135 in Seaside, said he had a lot of fun participating in the training.
“I don’t actually know which was my favorite,” Alexander said. “I liked the truck because it was really cool, but also the fire [trailer] where we learned about the safety was awesome. So I don’t know which one I like more, but I just like it all.”
His big takeaway, however, was that he and his family need to make a fire escape plan for their house, Alexander said.
Likewise, Ignacio Matias, 6, a Tiger who belongs to Cub Scout Pack 451 in Turlock, said he enjoyed the fire safety instruction.
Ignacio said he learned how to crawl along the ground with a towel to avoid smoke, and to put the towel underneath a door to prevent more smoke from coming into a room. He also learned he could wipe the windows to see out and then jump out a window.
Meanwhile, “If there was a fire in the oven, I would just call 911,” Ignacio said.
The fire-safety instruction was one of several activities the Scouts participated in during the camp, said Jason Leach, program director of the Monterey Cub Scout Camp.
The camp’s theme was “Weird Science,” and the Scouts learned how to make Alka Seltzer rockets, created art with fizzy paint comprised of baking soda, vinegar and dye, studied knot making and practiced knife safety while whittling, Leach said.
Cub Scouts are in grades first through fifth, and Leach and the other camp organizers made sure to keep all 38 of them busy throughout the camp.
“The Scouts arrive around eight o’clock in the morning, and we help get the Scouts in their cars around three and we watch them go ‘ka-thonk,’ sound asleep,” Leach said.
Organizations interested in scheduling a fire safety lesson with the PoM Fire Safety and Prevention Trailer should contact PoM Fire Prevention Chief Cory Prough at (831) 242-7544.