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Firefighters help youngsters get comfortable with them

May 07, 2003|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG - Two Smithsburg firefighters recently went beyond the call of duty to ensure a local child's safety in case of a fire.

One of Smithsburg day-care provider Cindy Lyons' young charges was so afraid of men and firefighters that the youngster's caregivers feared the child might hide in a burning building rather than accept help from a firefighter.

"We didn't want that to happen," Smithsburg Fire Capt. Sam Ginn said. "We're there to help. We want kids to know that firefighters are good people."

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To make the 4-year-old girl more comfortable around firefighters, Ginn enlisted the help of Smithsburg volunteer firefighter Becky Knott. The female firefighter first showed up at Lyons' day-care center in ordinary clothing to forge friendships with the children, Lyons said.

Knott visited the youngsters two to three times a week for about a month, donning her fire uniform after the children felt at ease around her, Lyons said. Eventually, Knott introduced firefighting equipment and a fireman - Ginn - to the kids.

The once fearful 4-year-old girl and her peers enjoyed reading and playing with the firefighters, and "had a ball" turning on the firetruck's lights and siren, Lyons said.

"It made such a difference for that child," she said. "It was amazing. I can't thank (the firefighters) enough for the time they dedicated to our childcare to help one child."

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