Fire Truck Day is a long standing tradition of the Aluminum Cans for Burned Children (ACBC) Camp as fire trucks from all over the region gather at Portage Lakes State Park to make a giant splash and suds party for children who’ve been treated in Akron Children’s burn center.
Campers get to see more than 20 fire engines, ladder trucks, pumpers and gators up close, complete with sirens blaring. Firemen show them the ropes, even letting them hold the hoses as water comes coursing out.
Then the giant splash party begins as campers stroll down an alley surrounded by fire trucks. Bathing suits are a must as the campers dart down the lane, dodging the artful aim of the firemen who playfully splash the campers.
One of the biggest attractions each year is the city of Akron’s foam truck, which smothers flames with foam. The truck creates a giant pool of foam for the kids to play in. It isn’t unusual to see adults enjoying the suds, too.
“There’s a reason this has been going on as long as it has. Fire Truck Day is just as important for the firemen as it is for the campers. It offers an opportunity for these first responders to check in on the very kids they helped save on the scene,” said Becky Mundy, a burn educator at Akron Children’s Hospital. “Fire Truck Day is a fun environment and gives a good break from the typical work day, where they are routinely trying to save people in traumatic situations.”
The campers especially benefit from being with other kids who have experienced painful, scarring burns.
“Wearing a bathing suit can be really uncomfortable for children who have experienced burns and have a lot of scarring, but not at burn camp,” said Mundy. “Everyone understands and people don’t ask uncomfortable questions. All the kids each have their own scars and no one stands out.”
Delicious food donated by Andy with Two Fat Guys in Canton and Fire Truck Day is the high point of a fun week for the campers. This year, the 13 campers also attended a Cleveland Indians game, went skating at the North Canton Skate Center, and participated in a talent show.