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A blast at camp

Junior firefighters learn basic first aid, fire safety and get some time on the water hose during kids’ weeklong program.

August 19, 2008|By Joseph Serna

It was almost as if there were nowhere they could go — they ran left, the water followed. They broke right, scampered back and even tried sprinting forward to get in front of the torrential downpour, but it was useless.

Newport Beach Fire Department medic Bryan Carter is good with the hose.

“There’s one that’s dry still,” Carter said with a competitive glee, pulling the 100-foot fire hose left at a higher angle as a never-ending downpour of water chased down the lone junior firefighter hesitant to get wet under the summer sun 100 feet away.

Even though there’s lessons, homework and drills, the nine Newport Beach Junior firefighters at the camp this week learned another important lesson Tuesday: It’s still all about fun.

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“It’s probably one of the best camps I’ve ever done,” said 10-year-old Katie Groat, participating in her first junior firefighter camp. She shared soaking duties with Carter, handling the second fire hose sending a rainbow of water toward the other campers.

The kids were participating in Newport Beach Fire Department’s annual Junior Firefighter Camp, a weeklong program from 9 a.m. to noon where kids get the basics in being a firefighter and fire safety, all while having fun at Mariners Park with firefighters.

Tuesday’s cool-off was the finale to an information-packed day, when kids learned basic first-aid, such as how to properly bandage someone, put pressure on a wound, and how to dress a burn.

“Any time you can engage the kids at a young age is pretty awesome,” said Jim Smith, who was visiting his wife, a teacher at Mariners Elementary School.

Smith saw the firefighters at the park and brought his stepson, Alex Borlin, 10, over to check it out. The firefighters allowed him to spray the hose with the other kids.

All of the kids were taken aback by the hose’s strength.

“It’s pretty hard to sweep it back and forth. I can’t even imagine a person having to carry it. I see why it takes five guys,” said 10-year-old Nicola Glasser.

“You have so much power in your hands,” she added. “It’s amazing how much force it has.”

With the help of firefighters, kids learned the different sprays on the hose, from a fog to a direct blast and which ones are used where.

There was even some target practice where the kids learned first-hand how hard it can be to battle an inferno accurately.

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