Going the robotic route in fire safety education

In central Wisconsin, Marshfield Fire and Rescue is rolling out Freddie the Fire Truck for its young audiences

Are you ready for Freddie?

The Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department is taking on a new method of fire safety education—with the help of a Freddie the Fire Truck animated robot that can move, listen, speak and interact with kids.

“Freddie is especially great for younger children because he’s low enough to the ground where the children can interact with him on a face-to-face basis. He’s at their level and can help get our message across more effectively,” says Fire Chief Scott Owen.

“I think Freddie the Fire Truck is going to be a very popular addition to our public education program,” he adds.

Freddie the Fire Truck, a fire safety tool produced by Robotronics, will help engage and educate students during school visits and at various community events throughout the year, including Dairy Fest and the Central Wisconsin State Fair.

Looking ahead to October, which is Fire Prevention Month, firefighters from Marshfield Fire and Rescue will pay their usual visits to all the elementary schools in the Marshfield district, bringing Freddie in tow.

In total, the department interacts with approximately 2,500 children and teachers annually for Fire Prevention Month, organized by the National Fire Protection Association.

“Every year all the fire departments in the area come together for our Get Fired Up For Safety event. It’s a very popular community event; we have a parade and lots of activities for kids and adults. We’re really excited to be able to have the robot for this and all the other events we participate in,” explains Owen.

At Enbridge, safety is not only a core value—it’s the very foundation of our business. Enbridge’s Safe Community program offers grants for equipment, training and education to first response organizations near our operations and projects—and our recent $5,000 Safe Community grant to Marshfield Fire and Rescue is helping fund purchase of a Freddie the Fire Truck.

Marshfield Fire and Rescue is a career fire department and has a public education committee, primarily responsible for delivering educational programs both to students and at different community events.

“For me, getting involved was a way to help the community and the people. I really do enjoy the public education aspect,” says Owen, who has been with the department for 23 years.