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Hinderman: Orland fire district program prepares youths for emergencies

Professional driver Peter Zekert teaches teens how check their engine fluid levels Check B4U Drive event for teens with diabetes

Professional driver Peter Zekert teaches teens how to check their engine fluid levels at the Check B4U Drive event for teens with diabetes at the Tinley Park Fire Training Facility. | Supplied photo

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Updated: November 14, 2013 6:11AM



Many Orland Township residents only meet Orland Fire Protection District personnel during an accident, fire or health emergency, but the district is working hard on increasing its community outreach by hosting training sessions and promoting fire safety education, among other events.

I was invited to attend an Oct. 4 district meeting on a new class for students ages 11 to 17, called the “Babysitter/Latchkey Kid Program.” It’s geared toward giving sitters and kids whose parents both work the knowledge to deal with situations they may find themselves in when alone after school or while caring for siblings and babysitting for others.

Battalion Chief Michael Schofield said the program is a new venture for the Orland fire district, but the instructor, fire inspector Pat Collier, has 38 years of experience with the Frankfort Fire Protection District. Collier brings a wealth of knowledge and a “bag of tricks” for the children to use in practicing valuable fire safety skills.

Paralleling its Kids Camp that’s held during the summer, the program uses hands-on components combined with fun drills to create a productive learning environment.

The fire district’s public education coordinator, Betsy Dine, is working with the school districts and community organizations to make fire safety education a priority.

Registration for the program costs $30 and runs through Oct. 18. Download the form at www.orlandfire.org and drop it at the fire district’s administration office, 9790 W. 151st St., Orland Park. Classes are from 6 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, beginning Oct. 30 through Dec. 4 (with no class Nov. 27).

The fire protection district will host its annual open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 26, at the district’s training center, 10728 W. 163rd Place. This activity-filled day will have demonstrations, displays, training and (hopefully) the rollout of the new fire and life safety trailer.

Check B4U Drive

The Juvenile Diabetes No Limits Foundation hosted its third annual Check B4U Drive event Oct. 5 at the Tinley Park Fire Department training center. Twelve teens who have been diagnosed with diabetes received training and tools for managing their blood sugar and avoiding problem incidents.

Professional drivers, who later would put the kids through various driving scenarios, showed the group the basics of car maintenance, giving each teen a tire gauge to keep. The message — along with checking their blood-sugar levels before they drive, they should also regularly check tire pressure and fluid levels as part of good car maintenance.

The Check B4U Drive event not only gives teens the confidence to deal with an emergency, it provides peace of mind to their parents.

To raise funds for this annual event, a candlelight bowling night will be held on Nov. 2 at Orland Bowl, 8601 W. 159th St., Orland Park. For more information, visit www.jdnolimits.org.



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