MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When we think of teachers, a truck, a hose and a helmet typically don’t come to mind.
But those are props one teacher uses to engage her students, and items she wears for her job as a fire fighter.
Minneapolis fire fighter Casidy Anderson’s passion to teach kids and high-risk adults about fire prevention makes her this week’s Excellent Educator.
Anderson makes fire prevention education fun with props, letting kids try on gear and even getting in costume herself.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said. “I just love working with the community. I love going out and talking with people, bringing the prevention messages, handing out the coloring books.”
Anderson not only brings her safety message to schools across Minneapolis, but also to English as a second language groups at churches and community centers.
She also thrives on teaching the deaf and hard of hearing.
“If people are hard of hearing they need different type of alerting devices in the home. If there is a fire they’re not going to be able to hear an audible alarm, so we need to make sure they have flashing strobes or some type of a vibrating device under their pillow to wake them up if there is a fire,” Anderson said.
Anderson joined the Minneapolis Fire Department 16 years ago, and put out fires for eight of those years. But after the birth of her son Walton she wanted a new challenge.
“It was lifestyle change. I had a baby and wanted to be on a little bit of a different schedule,” she said.
The single mom knows how to handle an enormous job on her own. She’s a one-person department who is single handedly responsible for the fire safety and prevention program for the entire city.
And the chief approves of the job she’s doing.
“She set the bar pretty high,” John Fruetel, Minneapolis Fire Chief, said.
That’s why he’s trusted Anderson with taking on the prevention program, which Fruetel says is the key to their success.
“We have come a long ways with code enforcement, writing new fire codes andpolicy and prevention education has come a long ways. We can measure that and measure the success of those programs based on the downward trend in fires. And a lot of it comes from prevention education and the great work that people like Casidy do in our service,” Fruetel said.
The kudos come from her boss and her students in hand written thank you notes. But when you’re this excited about what you do, no thank you is needed.
“I have the best job. I love what I do,” Anderson said.