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Young children learn about emergency services during Transportation Day event in Johnson City

Rex Barber • Jul 31, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Do you remember how old you were when you learned exactly what a fire truck was rushing to when you saw it coming?

How about a police car speeding down the road, or even an ambulance?

Today you probably take those common sights for granted. But if you’re little, it may not be apparent what’s going on or what the hurry is and what all the lights and sirens are for.

It could be scary.

For that reason, this past month, Cassidy Wilbanks, an early interventionist with Physical Therapy Services with Tennessee’s Early Intervention System, and others in that office have been educating young children on everything regarding the road, transportation and emergency services.

That program culminated Wednesday morning with a demonstration of emergency vehicles in the parking lot near City Hall.

“We have been doing a transportation unit all month with our kids from birth to 3 and their families, and today we have organized a transportation community helper day,” Wilbanks said. “We’ve had the fire truck out here, the police cars and the EMS.”

Food, games and prizes were all available, too.

Rain dampened some of the activities Wednesday morning but children were allowed to explore the different vehicles so that they can make a meaningful connection.

“All the families say that they really enjoyed it, even with the weather, that they were very appreciative,” Wilbanks said. “They’ve had a good time. The kids have loved it. They thought it was really cool to be able to climb in the fire truck, climb in the police car, see what the EMS has to offer, so, yeah, I think it made a huge difference despite the weather.”

Wilbanks said children should now know that a fire truck is taking firefighters to put out a fire and that a police officer is going to help someone.

“At a young age kids don’t understand what things are,” Wilbanks said. “And some kids are in homes that the families can’t explain to them what they are, and we want kids to be comfortable calling 911. We want kids to want to help people, if they have a parent that needs an emergency (response) to know what to do and be able to respond to it.”

The program is for children birth through age 3 who have developmental delays.

Tennessee Early Intervention System is a branch of the Department of Education. This system provides early intervention for children to age 3 before transitioning to the school system.

Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and other needs participating children may have are all addressed via the agency.

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