Twelve Arkansas City Middle School students were given the opportunity to see the City of Arkansas City from the inside this week.

The seventh-graders were rotated in two groups, one last Friday and one on Monday.

All of them spent time visiting three different city departments after being split into groups of two.

They spent time with the Arkansas City Fire-EMS, Police and Public Works departments.

The students were selected after writing essays, loosely based on an essay competition put on by the League of Kansas Municipalities with the intention of encouraging seventh-graders to be civically active. It is called “If I Were Mayor.”

One of the middle school social studies teachers accompanied the students on their outings.

Students at Fire-EMS

The last group to visit the fire-EMS department Monday was able to explore its newest ambulance, as well as use a fire hose that was hooked to an actual fire hydrant.

The two girls on the tour were shown different tools that the Arkansas City Fire-EMS Department paramedics use to assist individuals on calls.

Paramedics Josh Bowker and Brandy Rice hooked each girl up to the heart monitor and printed its findings out for them to take home.

Annicka Hernandez was one of the students on the tour. When she was hooked up to the monitor, she could see the changes in her heart rate when she was calm, versus when she was thinking about the next leg of the tour.

The second part of the firehouse tour involved the aerial ladder truck. They were able to see the city from above, more than 90 feet in the air.

After being harnessed in and fitted with helmets and gloves, they were able to hang under the aerial basket from ropes.

While Hernandez said she was not a fan of being up high, the other student, Aislynn Brantley, was a natural on the ropes.

She is a cheerleader at Advanced Cheer Crew All Star competition cheer team and has no fear of being up high.

While she was nearly 100 feet in the air, she let go of the ropes — safely and under supervision — and flipped over so she was upside down.

The girls went up together one time, with Brantley strapped into a rescue basket.

Once they reached the top of the ACFD building, Hernandez shouted down, “That’s enough!”

Police and public works

The students also were given a tour of the police department by one of the police officers.

After, they were able to go on ride-alongs with the officers on duty.

During the Public Works Department tour, “Doppler” Bob Frazee, the city’s emergency management coordinator, took students around the levee that surrounds Ark City.

The groups also were able to tour the new Water Treatment Facility, located on West Madison Avenue.

One of the groups last week even got to experience the operation of the city’s excavator from the inside of the cab.