Fist Bump Fridays: Emergency responders greet students after school each month
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Fort Leavenworth Fire and Emergency Services Fire Inspector Melissa Tull, Fort Leavenworth Fire Department Capt. Rich Baggett and FLFD Firefighters Dylan Honeycutt and Ryan O’Grady give fist bumps and high fives to students leaving school during the Directorate of Emergency Services’ First Bump Friday Sept. 9 at Bradley Elementary School. (Photo Credit: Charlotte Richter) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fist Bump Fridays: Emergency responders greet students after school each month
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Patrolman Sgt. Dawson Mots, 500th Military Police Detachment, Special Troops Battalion, exchanges fist bumps with students during the Directorate of Emergency Services’ Fist Bump Friday Sept. 9 at Bradley Elementary School. The next Fist Bump Friday is Oct. 14. (Photo Credit: Charlotte Richter) VIEW ORIGINAL

Elementary school students leaving their classrooms for the day may notice an extra sendoff once a month as firefighters and military police officers offer fist bumps as they pass by on Fist Bump Fridays.

On the first Friday dismissal of each month, first responders gather outside of each Unified School District 207 elementary school for Fist Bump Friday, a Directorate of Emergency Services’ effort to reinforce trust with children in the community.

“The goal of Fist Bump Friday is to normalize positive encounters with first responders and change the perspective that the police and fire department only come when bad things happen — when kids need help, we want them to run to us and not away,” DES Director and Provost Marshal Lt. Col. Adam Cronkhite said in an e-mail.

Fort Leavenworth Fire and Emergency Services Health and Safety Officer Derek Elrod said it’s vital for the younger community to meet and trust local first responders.

“First responders will typically be the first people on the scene during an emergency. Kids need to understand that the sole purpose of the responder is to help. Having a positive association builds trust that better equips responders to handle situations and achieve positive outcomes.”

Elrod said parents can help children learn about the role of first responders with education at home.

“Teaching kids the importance of this trust starts at home. An emergency scene is the last place responders would want to start the trust-building process as it takes away precious time responders can use to achieve positive outcomes,” he said.

The next Fist Bump Friday is Oct. 28 at USD 207 elementary schools. Look for a group of first responders waiting outside.