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STARBASE hosts military kid's camp

Montana Air National Guard Fire Department Lt. Jacob Harris shows a child how to operate a fire extinguisher on a fire during a STARBASE tour of the station June 15, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Montana Air National Guard Fire Department Lt. Jacob Harris shows a child how to operate a fire extinguisher on a fire during a STARBASE tour of the station June 15, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Montana Air National Guard Fire Department Lt. Jacob Harris demonstrates how to operate a fire extinguisher during a STARBASE tour of the station June 15, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Montana Air National Guard Fire Department Lt. Jacob Harris demonstrates how to operate a fire extinguisher during a STARBASE tour of the station June 15, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Montana Air National Guard Fire Department Lt. Jacob Harris observes as a child uses a fire extinguisher on a fire during a STARBASE tour of the station June 15, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

Montana Air National Guard Fire Department Lt. Jacob Harris observes as a child uses a fire extinguisher on a fire during a STARBASE tour of the station June 15, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo/Senior Master Sgt. Eric Peterson)

GREAT FALLS, Mont. -- More than 40 children of military members enjoyed a weeklong summer camp hosted by the STARBASE program located at the 120th Airlift Wing June 13-17.

STARBASE Summer Academy offered students in fourth through eighth grade a chance to further their interests in the science, technology, engineering and math fields while experiencing the activities an Air National Guard C-130 Hercules air transportation base had to offer.

During the week the students visited the Montana Air National Guard Fire Department and were treated to a tour of the station and planned activities that included a firehose relay event and an opportunity to put out a live fire with a fire extinguisher.

During the relay, students were aided by firefighters and competed against each other to race to safety cones while dragging a fully charged firehose. The first student that knocked over the cone with the firehose spray of water won the competition.

According to MTANG Fire Department Lt. Jacob Harris, learning the PASS (pull the pin, aim the hose, squeeze the handle and sweep at the base of the flames) method of fire extinguisher use proved to be the most popular event for the kids at the fire station.

Firefighters used a remotely controlled fire generator fueled by propane to create flames. Students using fire extinguishers would follow the four steps of PASS to put the fire out.

"It's hard not to like that one," Harris said.

The Director of the Great Falls based STARBASE program, Wendy Fechter, said the tour and activities arranged by the firefighters also provided an educational opportunity to discuss fire safety with the students.

"The kids discussed where they had fire extinguishers located at their homes," Fechter said. "The discussion led to the firefighters asking the kids what type of fires to use water on and what type of fires you would avoid using water on."

"We not only talked about how to properly use a fire extinguisher, we also talked about escape routes in the home, where fire extinguishers are located in their house and things like that," Harris said.

Harris said the firefighters enjoyed spending time with the children and considered the event an opportunity to build positive relationships with members of the community.

"When we do get to do activities like that it's not only good for the people visiting us, the firefighters that work here really love it too," Harris said. "So it's a win-win for both."
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