Hello, all — first of all, let me introduce “Me”:
I’m Lindsay Schluntz, the Director of the incredible (if I DO say so, myself!) Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center, home of the Nebraska Firefighters & EMS Memorial and the upcoming Nebraska Firefighters Hall of Fame!
Let me just say that I feel so blessed to have been a part of celebrating the historic opening of this, the only statewide firefighters’ museum in Nebraska, in 2009, AND the only statewide memorial available for all members of Nebraska’s fire & rescue services!
How much more amazing can it get?!
Some of you I’ve had the pleasure of meeting… the rest of you, not yet! But I’ll be looking forward to meeting more of you as you come to see the place that enthusiastically tells your stories! …and speaking of stories… This little blog will be an opportunity for me to share some of the fun & exciting stories that are going on here on campus… there’s usually something fun happening here! So this will be a chance to keep you connected to what’s going on!
Do keep in mind that I love hearing back from ya’ll, so do join in the fun by commenting here on the blog, becoming a “Friend” of the Museum on Facebook, & by sharing your personal Nebraska Firefighters Museum visiting experiences here on our GuestBook!
And, hey… Fan the Flames of a Great Day!
Dangers of Asbestos in Fire Scenarios
Firefighters are routinely exposed to a number of health hazards on the job. Along with the heat, fire, treacherous terrain, stress and high levels of toxic gases, they also face the hazard of asbestos exposure.
Asbestos is a carcinogenic mineral that was used heavily in the building industry until the 1980s, and many older homes and buildings still contain asbestos. When asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) are damaged in a fire or during the overhaul and clean up procedures after the fire, they can release microscopic fibers that remain in the air for long periods of time.
If asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested they may cause a number of serious diseases such as:
- Pleural plaques (thickening of lung tissue)
- Asbestosis (scarring of lung tissue)
- Lung cancer
- Mesothelioma (cancer of the lining of internal organs)
In addition, firefighters who smoke and are exposed to asbestos have up to 90 times more risk of developing lung cancer.
Materials that May Contain Asbestos
Materials that contain asbestos cannot be identified simply by sight, and during an emergency situation firefighters don’t have the luxury of sending materials off for testing. However, knowing the products that are most likely to contain asbestos can help firefighters take the proper precautions.
Some common products that may contain asbestos include:
- Floor materials
- Electrical wire insulation
- Plaster walls
- Ceiling tiles
- Vinyl and asphalt
- Pipe insulation
- Spray-on fireproofing
- Fire doors
- Boiler and water heater insulation
If the presence of asbestos cannot be confirmed, all suspected ACMs must be treated as if they contain asbestos.
If the presence of asbestos is suspected, ACM should only be disturbed if necessary. In search and rescue scenarios or to check for additional hot spots during the overhaul stage, firefighters should always wear a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) when cutting through these materials. Materials that are suspected ACM should be wetted down before cutting or breaking to reduce the release of fibers.
In addition to being airborne, asbestos fibers can stick to clothing and protective gear. These fibers can still pose a threat if not contained. If possible, firefighters should clean the clothing before it leaves the site. Any clothing that is still contaminated should be kept in an airtight container and properly labeled before leaving the site.
Personnel involved in cleanup procedures after the fire should also wear proper respiratory equipment. Paper face masks do not protect against inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers. Air quality samples should also be taken during cleanup after a fire to confirm the presence or absence of asbestos in the air.
Because the symptoms of asbestos-related diseases can take up to 50 years to surface, it is important for firefighters to routinely monitor their respiratory and digestive health. If you smoke, it is even more important to get regular health screenings because of the increased risk of lung cancer among those who smoke and are exposed to asbestos. Early diagnosis of an asbestos-related disease improves the availability of effective treatment.
Being mindful of proper asbestos handling practices can reduce exposure and help safeguard health.
Michelle Y. Llamas researches and writes about asbestos and its related diseases for The Mesothelioma Center.
International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). (2012). Health risks to firefighters. Retrieved from http://www.iaff.org/smokefree/specialrisks.asp
Title: 2nd SATURDAY PROGRAM: “Why Are Fire Trucks Red?!”
Location: Nebraska Firefighters Museum
Link out: Click here
Description: The “Why Are Fire Trucks Red?” program will be a fun scavenger hunt activity for kids to get some answers to some of the most common questions that we get as they tour the Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center!
Participants will receive a “scrapbook” of questions, and the answers to these queries will be hidden around the Museum Gallery for them to discover and add to their “scrapbook”!
The answers to these questions are also supported and reinforced in the form of activity pages, crafts, videos, interactives, role playing, and more! It will be an exciting way for kids to learn and to make memories with their family! And they’ll get to take their books home with them at the end of the day.
The program is designed specifically for ages 7 and up.
Regular admission is charged to non-members (Adults $6, Youth $3), and Members are FREE! As the Museum will be doing monthly 2nd Saturday activities throughout 2012, the purchase of memberships is encouraged! Information about family memberships can be requested by calling 338-FIRE.
Some of the questions that we’ll address in the scrapbook will include:
WHY ARE FIRETRUCKS RED?
WHY DO OLD TIME FIREFIGHTERS HAVE SO MUCH FACIAL HAIR?
WHO THOUGHT OF VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENTS IN THE FIRST PLACE?
WHY WERE FIRE POLES NECESSARY?
WHO WERE SOME FAMOUS HISTORIC VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS?
WHAT MAKES FIRE BURN?
WHAT IS THE MALTESE CROSS (the symbol of the fire service) ALL ABOUT?
WHY IS THE DALMATIAN KNOWN AS THE FIREHOUSE DOG?
WHAT IS SO IMPORTANT ABOUT A FIREFIGHTER’S BADGE?
WHY ARE THERE SEVERAL DIFFERENT COLORS OF FIRE HELMETS?
WHO IS SMOKEY BEAR AND IS HE THE ONLY ‘SPOKESANIMAL’ OF THE FIRE SERVICE?
This will be a fun program for families, scout groups, daycares, and other youth organizations to participate in as teams! Small prizes will be awarded to individuals who fully complete their scrapbook!
Start Time: 12:00
End Time: 16:00
Each month in 2012, the Museum will be hosting a fun kids’ program on the 2nd Saturday!
February’s 2nd Saturday program was focused on showing the love to Nebraska Firefighters, by equipping kids with several fun fire-themed Valentines to create that we will be distributing to area departments!
MARCH’s 2nd Saturday program is titled “Why Are Fire Trucks Red?!” and will be all about the questions that kids ask! The program will be held on March 10th from 12-4PM, and will be jam packed with fun activity stations all around the Gallery for kids to discover answers to questions like:
- Why are fire trucks red?
- Why are Dalmatians the fire dog?
- Who was the first fire chief?
- Who thought of volunteer fire departments?
- What’s inside those funny looking old fire extinguishers?
- Who is Smokey Bear? Is he the ONLY spokesanimal for wildfire prevention?
- AND MORE!
Families can take their time to browse each information station’s questions and fun interactive activities to reinforce the provided answers at their own pace! Children will be provided with a scrapbook to fill with the answers to the questions and a green reusable shopping bag to carry their crafts home in.
Should be a fun time of learning and engaging with the firefighting facts of yesteryear, so bring the family and your neighbor’s kids and come enjoy an afternoon at the Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center — March 10th from 12PM - 4PM!
The Annual Nebraska Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service honoring the firefighters, rescue personnel and auxiliary who passed away in 2010 will be held on September 10th at 8PM at the Nebraska Firefighters & EMS Memorial. Following the service, a candlelight vigil will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of September 11th, 2001.
In a moment of vulnerability, I’ll admit… it’s overwhelming for me to consider the AMOUNT of loss that will be remembered during this upcoming hour and a half span of time. Not only through joining the nation in noting the many lives –spanning states, countries and nationalities — lost during the attack on America, but also in mourning with the number of Nebraskans, specifically, who are dealing with the loss of those who passed away during 2010 in our own state.
But overwhelming as it may be, I know that it’s important. So very important. Not only for the purpose of supporting the families whose lives will never be as they were prior to 2001 or prior to 2010, but also for each of us, for ME, personally. It causes me to remember the brevity of life. To notice the moments that I can make the most of now. Right now. This moment. This day.
So please, join us as we honor those lives. Those heroes who walked among us every day. Those everyday heroes who protected and rescued, demonstrated and educated, trained and explained how to stay safe from fires and fears. Let’s honor their lives. Let’s celebrate their choice to volunteer or to make a career of firefighting.
Let’s’ take this moment to not forget or take for granted those lives… those collections of moments… that made such a difference.
SO Exciting! We just hit our 10,000th customer milestone! Granted, we’ve had many more than that number on our campus, whether through birthday parties, special events, and visiting the Memorial, but if we’re going by the technical “paying customer” measurement — #10,000 came in yesterday morning!
Congratulations to Jordan & Leslie Felker of Kearney!
From July 1 to July 4, there is a temporary exhibit on display at our neighboring attraction on Archway Parkway in Kearney. The traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall is a somber reminder of the sacrifice that our courageous men and women in uniform pay in order to protect the peace and prosperity of our great country.
I’d like to just take a moment to encourage you to give honor where honor is due when you visit this exhibit. Treat it with the amount of respect that so many of you pay to the men and women honored in the Nebraska Firefighters & EMS Memorial on our campus.
This is a big deal, folks. Daily, life and death hangs in the balance when it comes to protecting Americans, whether from foreign threats or from fires, and we need to pay due respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we have the right to stand where we stand today.
Hats off to those in uniform… salute.
I just returned from an almost week-long conference in the historic town of Ypsilanti, MI, (that’s near Detroit, for those who haven’t heard of Ypsi yet!) in conjunction with the Fire Museum Network’s annual seminar. It was 6 days packed with learning, both through informative sessions, roundtable discussions, networking person-to-person, and of course, my favorite part: the tours of other Museums!
We toured the beautiful Greenfield Village, the Ypsilanti Automotive Museum, The Henry Ford, the Ford Rouge Factory & Gallery, the Toledo Fire Museum, the Michigan Firehouse Museum, and the Hands-On Children’s Museum.
Amazing. Seriously. Just from looking at the exhibits and in talking with the other director, there were so many many sparks in my brain for NEW ideas and NEW possibilities for integrating creative ideas and unique learning opportunities into the Nebraska Firefighters Museum!
My passion in my position here is to facilitate interactive learning with regards to the history of firefighting and the tools of the trade, and to encourage the awareness of the need for daily practice of fire prevention activities. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF WAYS TO DO THIS!
So, I’m excited to be able to hit the ground running now, to enhance the offerings of the Museum for kids of ALL ages, and I’d invite you to keep in touch with what’s happening here! I think you’ll like it… and hey, if you have some ideas of your own… SHARE them with me! Together, we can make the possibilities… realities!
The sun is shining, traffic is picking up on the Interstate, it’s getting closer to Summer Break for the kiddos, so the Museum is now open for more hours on more days! Our hot new Spring hours of operation are 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily!
So, bring yourself, bring your family, bring your boyscout/girlscout/school group/church small group/professional organization/(anyone else you know that I missed!) to the Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center during ANY DAY OF THE WEEK! Come enjoy fun games & activities, learn interesting info and tidbits about Nebraska’s fire service and about the fire service in general!
Come find out:
- Why is the DALMATION known as the firefighters’ dog?
- Where are there FIRETRUCKS built here in Nebraska?
- What products that save lives were built in OVERTON, Nebraska?
- What is the #1 CAUSE of fires in our state?
- When was YOUR hometown’s fire department founded?
- Why was OCTOBER chosen as fire prevention education month?
…AND SO MUCH MORE!
I’ll be looking forward to seeing you all anytime this week, between 10 and 4, at the HOTTEST place in Nebraska!
Hey, all — today’s entry is from Andrea Weed — one of the great volunteers here at the Museum! She volunteered for a couple hours today and had a fun experience with some of our visitors on this blustery March day….
Considering the weather today, folks thought was a good day to come tour the museum. Ages 2 to seniors today! The children had a great time sketching the tablets in the gallery, and trying on the bunker gear and climbing on the toy box. It is always a pleasure visiting with those that come to visit, where they are from, etc. One lady was from Calif. She was here with her family who were originally from NE, and she had never experienced the neat things we have to offer here, reading about the history of the fire service, etc. She took great pictures of the kids, and will have something for them to forever treasure about their visit.
…SO… if you’re interested in having a fun time with the visitors at the Nebraska Firefighters Museum, like Andrea, give me a call at 308-338-FIRE(3473) or connect with me via our Volunteer page!
So far this year, already, it’s been so much fun to see the calendar starting to fill up with special community events for this spring & early summer! The Museum boasts a couple community rooms that are available to rent out (at really affordable rates!) for any number of special events — like ………. BIRTHDAY PARTIES!!
The very first birthday party we had at the Nebraska Firefighters Museum was for 21 third-grade boys — and let me tell you — it was a BLAST!! Not only was it fun for me & my staff to engage the whole group with interesting & educational firefighting stories, but it was also wonderful for the kids to get to spend some time around the big candy-apple red trucks, to get a storytime with Smokey Bear, to suit up in bunker gear & play on a toy truck, and to just have some FUN while they were learning (shhh… don’t tell them that it was actually a LEARNING opportunity, too!)
Besides — best of all — the MOM was absolutely thrilled to not have to clean the house for the party & to not have to decorate & to not have to come up with something… ANYTHING… to entertain the gaggle of little guys & to not have to clean up the aftermath! “Priceless” is how many of the moms sum it up!
Since that first party of little “future firefighters” we’ve had the privilege of hosting many birthday parties for boys & girls ages 2 to 85!
Most parties look like this:
- Attendees arrive!
- Cake & ice cream are served!
- Gallery tour (at a reduced group rate!) — dress up, scavenger hunt, fire hazard find, play on toy fire truck, handcranked siren, etc!)
- when available: Meet a REAL firefighter — photos & high-fives!!
- when desired: Pinata!
- Gift-opening & goodie bags distributed!
- Free-play in Gallery as attendees head home!
Most parties are between two and three hours long — but can be tailored to suit any desired structure or time frame!
So — if you’re looking for a fun, unique & memorable location for your child’s upcoming birthday, somewhere that comes already cleaned & decorated, somewhere that can offer a built-in educational & entertaining activities for all ages to enjoy, somewhere that can have all the party “extras” (like themed plates, cups, napkins, balloons, pinatas, goodie bags & goodies, etc!) all in one place & ready for you when you arrive… We’re the place for you!!
So, be sure to check out our “Events” tab for more information about the Party Room at the Nebraska Firefighters Museum & Education Center — or just call 308-338-FIRE to chat with me about dates, times, pricing & available activities!
THE COOLEST PARTIES ARE AT THE HOTTEST PLACE IN NEBRASKA!