PEQUOT LAKES — “We’re learning about the safety of fire trucks,” youngster James Olson revealed Tuesday, June 29, as Ivy Larson pointed to the big red truck, exclaiming excitedly, “It’s right there!”

Sirens blared and enthusiasm was apparent as members from Pequot Lakes’ fire department and police officer reserve unit were on hand Tuesday at Eagle View Elementary School in Breezy Point, teaching about fire and traffic safety as part of the annual Safety Kids Camp.

The program gives kids ages 4-6 the opportunity to learn about various safety procedures — like boat and water, electrical and bus safety — from community experts. Crow Wing County Sheriff Scott Goddard even showed up on the last day of the three-day camp with his K-9 Lincoln for one final program.

“Safety Kids is my favorite program,” said Pequot Lakes Community Education Coordinator Andrea Nelson Tuesday. “Fire day is my favorite day, and we have a really good turnout. We have really good support from the community as far as getting presenters to come in. They’ll volunteer their time and come in and showcase what they know.”

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Firefighters gave the kids tours of a fire truck Tuesday and let them try on some gear and learn about various pieces of equipment, including the large hoses. A model house served as a lesson about smoke alarms and kitchen safety.

“We just want them to not be afraid of us firefighters and the fire scene and our trucks and that kind of activity,” Firefighter Kirk Larson said. “And also just how to safely leave a home that maybe has a fire alarm that goes off and be safe in the kitchen.”

Inside the school gym, the kids visited Safety Town, where they rode bikes through a miniature city, learning about road signs and obeying traffic laws.

Sixty-five kids signed up this year, along with 20 teen leaders eager to get back into the swing of community education activities after everything took a backseat to the pandemic in 2020.

“It’s so great to get programming going again,” Nelson said. “Last year was hard with COVID. We missed out on a lot of stuff.”

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.