Sisters firefighters assisted local youngsters in playing with fire hoses at a family event last summer designed to build ties within the Sisters Latino community.
By Katie Stewart
Chief Roger Johnson of the Sisters-Camp Sherman fire district saw a need in the community to increase diversity through involvement in programs. The idea is to create a more welcoming community environment that encouraged involvement of all groups.
In partnership with Citizens4Civility, Johnson was put into contact with Ruth Jones of OSU Open Campus, which began the conversation about an event for Latino families in Sisters which eventually became the Sisters Fire Family Night.
The event went forward last August 2, after months of planning. It could not had been better timing, considering how busy the fire station became in the following weeks.
The event aimed to bring Latino families in to the fire station to learn about internships, volunteer opportunities, use of AEDs (Automatic External Defibrilators), personal health and safety within the home. The event was well-attended. There were about 80 Latino community members who took time out of their Wednesday night to have dinner with and learn from the firefighters and keynote speaker, Heather Johnson, who leads the health education program at Sisters High School.
Sisters Family Fire Night was a fun, educational opportunity for all families involved. Parents learned about the opportunities available for their students in the fire sciences field, internships, volunteer positions and pursuing education in this field at Central Oregon Community College. Another important discussion was about the situations in which it might be necessary to use an AED and how to do so.
Because the total solar eclipse was right around the corner, the fire department provided the families with solar eclipse glasses and a flier written in Spanish from NASA detailing eye safety information.
Children of all ages were able to explore the fire truck and see firefighters in their firefighting attire while learning about each piece of equipment. One of the biggest highlights of the night was seeing the children participating in water activities planned by the Sisters-Camp Sherman fire district volunteers. The evening ended with most children completely soaked from playing in the fire-hose water, but smiling ear to ear.
The event is something that has left a lasting impact on the families in Sisters and is a great step toward consciously pursuing a welcoming and inclusive community for all people. Representatives of the Latino community expressed their
"Gracias a las familias de Sisters, por su esfuerzo en acompañarnos en este evento. Estamos agradecidos al Departamento de Bomberos de Sisters-Camp Sherman por la cena y actividades con los niños. El puente se forma entre todos. (Thank you to the Sisters families for their effort to accompany us at this event. We are grateful to the Sisters-Camp Sherman firefighters for the dinner and activities with the children. The bridge is formed between all.)"