Volunteer Firefighter Teaches Kids How to Help Others, Themselves

he next time a disaster strikes, it may be a fifth grader who best knows what to do.
Karen McHale, a volunteer firefighter, has just published her first book in a series designed to teach kids how to prepare for emergencies. Fire Station Buddies – The Pact lets kids join a virtual fire station and get started on their training to be a “fire buddy” like the fictional characters in the series.
The story follows six fifth-grade friends as they stop at Fire Station 2 to get ideas for an assignment. They stumble onto clues that lead them to a startling discovery: talking animals once hada secret pact with firefighters to help stop fires, but the pact and the animals have been forgotten.Can the kids find these special creatures and revive the pact before a wildfire traps them in the forest?
Those too young to read can get Fire Station Buddies – The Legend, a picture book for children 5 and under that shares the storyof pillow animals living at the fire station. The pillow animals make a convenient cover story for hiding the secret revealed in The Pact.In real life, McHale and her co-workers use the pillow animals to comfort children in emergencies.
Fire Station Buddies – The Pact and the picture book are available only at www.firestationbuddies.com, where kids can join a virtual Fire Station 2 as a volunteer fire station buddy.Materials and other items will be available later this summer so all fire buddies can start their own training. Proceeds from purchases will support volunteer fire departments across the country.
“Almost weekly, there is some kind of disaster on the news that can scare kids. Fear can be reduced by being prepared, practicing safety and learning how to solve a problem. My training program and all the books in the series will show kids how to be ready to handle an emergency,” McHale says.
Fire Station Buddies – The Pact
By Karen McHale
Available at www.firestationbuddies.com
© 2010 Karen McHale
Retail price: $10


As an engineer is the water/wastewater industry for the last 15 years, Karen McHale has helped cities and towns oversee their safety programs and work to keep their facilities and personnel safe. This training covers everything from OSHA regulations, standard practices and preparednessto Homeland Security assessments for credible threats.

As a volunteer firefighter for the Clear Creek Fire Authority in Idaho Springs, Colorado, McHale responds to all types of emergencies in the county where she lives. As a member of the Clear Creek County Wildfire Team in Idaho Springs, Colorado, she acts as either the planning/logistics person, safety officer or a firefighter in emergencies. She holds several certifications in emergency response and trains personnel in the incident command management system.
McHale is married with two sons, for whom she used to make the Fire Buddies when they were young. In 2009, she bought a $50 raffle ticket and won a $1.2 million home. Winning (and selling) the home has allowed her to develop the Fire Station Buddies and now train children all over the country.

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