(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 9, 2013)
When Royal Oak firefighter and paramedic Cary Thompson isn’t out saving lives and property, he likes to spend time educating kids on the importance of fire safety. One way he’s done this was with last night’s Story Time with Sparky event at the Royal Oak Public Library.
Over 100 kids came to hear Thompson read children’s books alongside the fire prevention doggie. Story Time with Sparky has been going on for over seven years now. “We were educating the kids at the elementary schools, but we were not reaching the pre-school kids as much as we wanted. I read that kids were also having difficulty with reading. I love reading and I love teaching. It was easy to put together fire education and reading to the kids. It covered two greatly needed things. It encourages the kids to enjoy reading and teaches them how to stay safe in a fire. I read two or three books to the kids on a variety of topics. In between reading I teach them about fire safety,” Thompson said.
At the end of the evening, each kid got a new book to keep from the library.
Thompson, who has been a firefighter in Royal Oak for 15 years, has taken part in other events for kids in the community. “I also do the Royal Oak Firefighters Walk to School and the Open House for the last three years.
“Additionally, I started Safety City USA at 13 and Woodward. It’s the first year-round fire and injury prevention program in Michigan. It grew out of a program that I started in a park in Royal Oak that was named Safety Town. I started that program 13 years ago. It got so big that Beaumont Hospital picked it up to use as their injury prevention program. Safety City USA has been open since 2006.”
For more on Safety City USA, go to http://www.beaumontchildrenshospital.com/safety-city.
For more on the Royal Oak Fire Department go to http://www.ci.royal-oak.mi.us/portal/departments/fire-department.