Grand Chute firefighters bring storytime into homes during COVID-19 crisis

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GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) - With events cancelled, schools closed, and families being told to hunker down and isolate, interaction with others is minimal. The Grand Chute Fire Department, which regularly invites people into its station, is bringing the station to the people.

Grand Chute firefighters record a hygiene presentation for their online storytime (Photo: Grand Chute Fire Department)

It started with a Facebook post on Tuesday, inviting people to join the Grand Chute Fire Department for a little story time, since the department's community outreach has stopped due to the coronavirus.

"We really enjoy engaging the public and getting out there or having them come here. It's something that we love to do and we're missing it right now and so we kind of have that void," says Engineer Wade Thorson.

With the help of Sparky the Fire Dog, Engineer Wade Thorson and Firefighter Kody Porter not only read two stories to viewers, but they also squeezed in some helpful personal hygiene tips. Making the video not only entertaining, but also educational.

According to Thorson, "We love the public education part of being a firefighter, so it's kind of our job, our duty to teach the citizens of Grand Chute."

Citizens from Northeast Wisconsin, as well as, from outside of the area tuned it.

"I thought they did a really good job," says Stephanie Otto of Oshkosh. "It was very cute and well thought out and there was some good information in there."

Kids were glued to the screens, learning things like, "To always wash your hands the right way," says Charles McCall of Spring Green.

As well as interacting with the firefighters, a change of pace for those who've been cooped up at home.

Stephanie Otto adds, "Obviously we're all learning how to deal with the situation we're in, but my kids don't use a lot of technology otherwise so they were quite impressed we could send smiley faces, especially Austin thought that was pretty exciting that we could interact directly with them, even though we're at a distance."

And because they had such luck interacting with their followers using technology, the Grand Chute Fire Department plans to keep online story time going, every Thursday for the near future.