Va. Rescue Squad Educates Public During 'Squadapalooza'

The Fredericksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad displayed their equipment and talked about emergency response.

June 01--When young children call 911, they may not have any concept of who will respond to their emergency--and what kind of equipment they'll bring.

The Fredericksburg Volunteer Rescue Squad's Squadapalooza is designed to change that in a fun and nonthreatening way.

The second annual event took place Saturday in Hurkamp Park, adjacent to the squad's William Street location. It coincided with the popular farmers market.

The festival included demonstrations, CPR practice devices, Companion Canines, bounce castles, complimentary plastic firefighter hats and live music provided by WFLS.

"It's a chance to open up our building, squad and family to the community," said rescue Chief Troy Payne. "It allows kids to be around our equipment in a safe environment."

Approximately 30 members of the squad were on hand.

Payne also said that, by meeting them and seeing what and how they operate, children are less likely to be afraid when the squad responds to calls.

Cadence Heden of Spotsylvania County said that the event amazed her 2-year-old son, Trevor.

"It's been pretty awesome. Trevor got to 'drive' the fire truck," she said.

Trevor, who sported a firefighter hat, said he was even more excited to help a squad member 'put out' a stove fire with a hose at one of the demonstration stations.

The squad's public information officer, Amanda McDaniel, was in charge of coordinating the event.

Though the palooza had an initial focus on recruitment and retention of members, McDaniel said that it had become much more kid-oriented.

"Having the kids know how to call 911, and teaching them who shows up and what they'll do has been great," she said.

Though the event is in only its second year, McDaniel estimated that it has impacted at least 1,000 people.

Fredericksburg resident David Kawesi-Mukooza said that he, his wife and their three young children enjoyed the event's engaging displays.

"I didn't know that [Fredericksburg Rescue] had all these resources," he said.

Fredericksburg's rescue squad is an all-volunteer squad with members ages 14 and up.

Dawnthea Price 540/374-5403

Copyright 2014 - The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.