When participants in Abington School District’s annual 24-Hour Relay Challenge aren’t walking for their team, they can gear up in firefighting apparel and learn some life-saving skills compliments of Abington Township Fire Department (ATFD).
The 24-Hour Relay Challenge is a township tradition that raises money for Citizens and Police Together — an Abington-based nonprofit through which citizen volunteers and police support community projects within the township. Relay team members take turns walking around the track while non-walking teammates participate in a variety of activities. ATFD is pleased to take part in this community effort!
Department volunteers help suit up participants so they can experience the realities of entering a burning building by crawling through a tent filled with nontoxic smoke. “It was hard to see in there,” McKinley Elementary School student Jake Moss said after last year’s event. He and a friend geared up in the firefighter uniform and worked their way through the smoke house. “It really helped me realize that firefighters do what many people cannot do for themselves.”
Throughout the demonstrations, ATFD volunteers were on hand to answer questions and show off their unique skill sets that help keep the community safe. “Being a firefighter is a great way to help the community and keep it a safe and beautiful place,” Roslyn Fire Company volunteer firefighter Kevin Bryson said. “That’s why I volunteer.”
Participants also learned how to use fire extinguishers by aiming and firing at a controlled grill fire. “I believe that people who volunteer have a greater caring for other people,” said mother Sue Cherry, who brought her son to the demonstration. She hoped this would encourage him to sign up as a volunteer.