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Junior Fire Patrol
A Tragic Day
It was a blustery February 8th, 1948, with the outside temperature at eight below zero, when Mike Novicki returned from lunch to his job as district store supervisor for Consumers Public Power District. About 1:30 p.m. a call was received that a fire had enveloped a small family trailer in another part of the city. Volunteer Fireman Novicki raced to the fire station and headed for the trailer area. "We had practiced and practiced for any type of fire," recalled the solemn smoke eater, "But we were too late. An eleven month old infant perished in the flames."

Not the End
That wasn't the end of this tragic day. The trailer debris hadn't cooled when another blaze was reported - this one inside a small home. The time was 12:05 a.m. and the victim - another eleven month old child. JUST 12 HOURS APART!

"Till the day I die, I'll always see a young mother running with her arms outstretched, beseeching, I want my baby, I want my baby," said Mr. Novicki.

The veteran fireman almost lost his zeal for training and fighting blazes after "that black February 8th."

What Else Can We Do
"As an instructor for the Columbus Volunteer Fire Department," he said, "I kept asking myself what we did wrong? Where did we slip up? We planned, we practiced, we had good equipment; yet twice in less than 24 hours, we were too late." He knew something else must be wrong. He thought about some programs, but none seemed to fit the ideal program that he wanted. His determination resulted in the establishment of an annual program for all fifth grade students (public, parochial and rural). The first meeting was held February 20th, 1950 with 100 students attending. Mr. Novicki explained the program to the students with the fire chief and the Columbus superintendent present and lending their support.

Today's Junior Fire Patrol
Today Junior Fire Patrol is offered to all the fifth graders that attend the area schools. Junior Fire Patrol meets one night a month, either the first Tuesday or the first Wednesday of the month (depending on what school you attend). Junior Fire Patrol starts off each year with a parade during Fire Prevention week and ends in May with graduation which consists of a short awards ceremony, fire truck rides, and spraying actual fire hoses. During the time that the students are enrolled in Junior Fire Patrol they go around and look for potentially dangerous situations that could result in fire and they fill out a correction slip; the student with the most correction slips between October and May becomes the Fire Chief and gets an award.