Fire Truck Day is all about celebrating the recovery of the campers, all burn survivors, at the Aluminum Cans for Burned Children (ACBC) Burn Camp. This annual event has been taking place since the mid ’80s, and from what we can tell, is unique to us. We’ve never heard of another event like ours. You can see for yourself now why Fire Truck Day is the most requested day off for our burn unit and local fire department employees! Everyone wants to be part of this exciting event and bring their families.
No one thinks to question anyone about the scars that are so evident when wearing bathing suits for this event. More people have burn scars than not at Fire Truck Day, even the firemen themselves. Many Akron Children’s Burn Unit nurses and firefighters from throughout Northeast Ohio bring their families to this event, so all can celebrate together and support the recovery of burn victims.
As pontoon boats carry campers from the Akron Rotary Camp, screaming sirens from 25 fire trucks signal the start of fire truck day and the pain and hardship of burn recovery is forgotten, replaced instead by anticipation of the world’s largest water fight. When the wailing sirens stop, a giant water battle ensues, complete with ladder trucks spraying down on whomever is brave enough to make their way through this wet promenade. Fire fighters surrender their hoses to burn campers, and these youngsters ensure no one stays dry during Fire Truck Day.
Things get bubbly as the Akron Fire Department Foam Truck generates gallons and gallons of slippery foam to create a lake in the middle of the Portage Lakes State Park.
Instead of cleaning up hazardous waste, the foam truck’s mission is different today. Soon, foam is drifting everywhere and a giant lake of bubbles begins to form. Kids and adults alike can’t resist wading in this light and airy concoction. It looks like snow and some say, whipped cream.
Then it is back to the fire trucks, where fire fighters hose off all the now slimy attendees so everyone clean up before gathering together to enjoy a barbecue picnic.
Kids admire the trucks and even get a chance to see what it is like to sit behind the driver’s wheel, as proud fire men show off their amazing life saving equipment. Attendees settle into the beautiful beach picnic area with plates heaping full of barbecue chicken, potato salad, baked beans and chocolate chip cookies.
Fire fighters reunite with some of the very kids they rescued from tragic situations. Retirees revel in seeing their old co-workers from the burn unit and fire departments. Proving that the bonds made at burn camp remain through adulthood, many former campers who are now adults still return each year to enjoy the fun, now with their young families in tow.
It was another successful Fire Truck Day, starring our 10 burn camp attendees and their families, and 25 fire trucks from throughout the region. It just doesn’t get better, or wetter, than that!