By Samantha Johnson
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
t was a perfect day on Sept. 14 for the HALO Emergency Services Schools Day. A long line of school buses dropped off hundreds of excited Grade 4-6 students from across all three local school divisions.
Katie Albers brought her Grade 5 class from Southview Community School. Last year, Albers taught a split 4/5 class and is pleased some of her Grade 4 students from last year are now in her Grade 5 class. Having a field trip in September is a way for Albers to work with her students on expectations.
“It’s important for them to see how and why these emergency services are provided to them in our city. I was really impressed by the fact that we were going to see the program from Eagle Butte High School, the Flight Academy. I think that’s a great option for some of the kids going forward.”
Hussein is a student in Albers’ class and Southern Alberta Newspapers caught up with him after he had been at the Medicine Hat Police Service table checking out the two guns they had on display, handling the one that shoots rubber bullets. Before that, the class had checked out one of the various fire trucks onsite.
“They showed us what they do when there is an emergency,” said Hussein. “I didn’t know they were going to let us go inside them.”
Deputy chief of the Burdett Fire Department Nick Dykstra explained to Southern Alberta Newspapers the new automatic CPR machine they had just acquired.
“Eventually they are going to be in every truck, but right now are only in the commander’s truck.”
CPR is tiring to administer and Dykstra explained it takes time to build up pressure in the body, which can be lost when one person takes over from another.
“We are firefighters and not these big, scary guys in gear,” said Dykstra. “We are here in public to bring awareness and so the kids can play with what we work with.”
Over at the Flight Academy displays from Eagle Butte High School, Grade 11 student Reid Vossler talked about the Xboxes they brought.
“They have flight simulators installed on the computer and we are letting kids take turns flying all across the world. I had kids up in Tokyo and all over, they are having a blast. We used to have drones set up, except we had trouble with GPS so we couldn’t do that.”
High school is going well for Vossler.
“It’s not often you get to fly a plane and get a licence out of high school. It’s an awesome opportunity and I honestly can’t say enough about it.”
It took from September until May in his Grade 10 year before Vossler was able to fly a plane. He was in the air all summer as well and, if all went well, was scheduled to take his first solo flight last weekend.
CEO of HALO Paul Carolan commented, “The thing we heard most, even before they got inside, was thank you, thank you, thank you. It’s amazing to hear that from the kids and to have so many of our partners here. Every fire department, AHS, police, it’s a really cool opportunity for kids to get the experiential learning and see what it’s like to be in emergency services, and Prairie Rose is here, too. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”