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Experience counts! After serving thousands of satisfied clients, we've worked hard to anticipate questions our customers may have about our services and company. As professionals, it's our duty to anticipate your needs and cater to even the most minor details that can help make an event successful. Please feel free to ask us if your specific concerns are not addressed below.
My child is only three. I'm concerned that this may not be good for his age group. Does the program really work well for younger kids?
Absolutely yes! It's common that most preschoolers go through a phase where they are fascinated with trucks and fire trucks. Thus, a very large part of our business is from families celebrating 3rd, 4th and 5th birthdays. We have a lot of experience working with younger kids; therefore, our interaction with the children, games, and other activities are age-appropriate for this age group. If the group is older, or has a variety of ages, we can easily tailor the program to accommodate this as well. The key is that our presentation is high energy and totally interactive--and therefore can command a much longer attention span from our youngest guests unlike other kinds of programs where kids merely sit in the audience and watch.
Where can we hold the party?
We can go almost anywhere! Our goal is to provide an easy, hassle-free party experience wherever you wish to hold your party. The majority of our parties are held at private homes. We can visit any home on a paved street/road without problems, no matter what the configuration of your neighborhood, street, or yard. We are very flexible! At most homes, we simply park in the street in front of your house. We typically use the front yard/driveway/surrounding area for the hands-on activities depending on the party package you have chosen. We designate a safety zone around the truck and partially into the street with traffic cones. Passing traffic tends to be less of a safety concern than you might initially think: Trust us, a giant red fire truck with flashing lights in front of your house is generally an assurance that any passing vehicles will slow to a crawl!
We can also accommodate parties in venues such as parks, schools, parking lots, and other areas away from busy traffic. In particular, the small subdivision parks in many neighborhoods across the Valley are really great spaces for our parties. Because we are a private vehicle no different legally than your own car, no special permission is needed from the city, your HOA, or the entity in charge of a park in order for us to be a part of your party. If requested, we can provide a Certificate of Insurance should it be required by your party venue. For a small additional charge, we can fulfill any special insurance needs such as Additional Named Insureds if your venue requires it.
If your party is being held in a public park, planning ahead is essential. The arrival of a fire truck at a busy public park can cause the size of your party to immediately grow by dozens of uninvited kids. We suggest that you choose a less popular park for your party to make sure that there is adequate space for the fire truck and activities, and less of an issue with party-crashers. We also suggest that you provide your party guests with nametags so that they can easily be identified by our staff.
We are not able to accommodate events on dirt roads or unimproved (dirt) lots in order to preserve the condition and cleanliness of our vehicle. We do not recommend pulling into your driveway or other space on private property. Please note that due to the weight of the truck, as well as the fact that large vehicles can drip oil and other fluids, we are NOT RESPONSIBLE for the condition of any surfaces which may be damaged by the truck.
Overall, we want customers to understand that we are party professionals and will do whatever is necessary to make your party a huge success no matter where it's held. That is the advantage of working with an experienced provider such as Fantastic Fire Department.
How much space is needed and where should we set up?
The truck is about the size of a typical UPS delivery truck and is remarkably agile and maneuverable in nearly any neighborhood, parking lot, or cul-de-sac. We can go almost anywhere without problems. If the party is held at your home, we ask that you block off an area in front of the house to allow for maneuvering of the truck and an adequate safety zone around the vehicle for the children. We also request that your driveway be clear of any vehicles so that it may be used for the children's activities. We strongly suggest that we do not park in your driveway or on other areas which have not been designed to handle the weight of such a large vehicle. Also, remember the kids spray water with most of our party packages, and there's a good chance vehicles parked nearby may get sprayed with some water.
What is the background of your staff?
All of our Fantastic Firefighters are trained professionals who have background in working with children. It's immediately clear to observers that our staff really love their jobs and love working with kids. All our staff have been through extensive training on how to successfully communicate with children of all ages and bring the experience alive for our young guests. All our drivers are required by law to have commercial driver's licenses, and we are proud to fully comply with the US Department of Transportation's very rigid drug and alcohol testing programs as a part of our corporate standards. Our curriculum and training have been co-developed by career firefighters as well as a nationally known children's entertainer. We continuously are improving, refining, and refreshing our presentations to make them the best possible. For nearly all parties, the truck is staffed with two Fantastic Firefighters so our organized activities run smoothly and efficiently.
What if it rains?
We provide our services rain or shine. Luckily we worry little about rain here in the Valley of the Sun, but never fear if it happens to rain on the day of your party. First, remember this is a fire truck, and fire trucks spray water, so pretty much everything about our equipment is designed to get wet. When it does rain, we slightly modify our programs to fit the circumstances, rearrange as necessary depending on how hard it may be raining, dress the kids up in firefighter gear to keep them dry, and typically move our hands-on activities into your garage or covered patio and proceed as usual. We've had some of our most memorable parties on days when it rained.
Do you do parties for girls? Would my daughter like this?
Absolutely! About half our our parties are for boys and about half are for girls. Fire trucks are for girls, too!
Do you talk about fire safety at all?
Throughout all of our programs, hands-on activities and games we emphasize important concepts about firefighters, firefighting, and safety, all in an age-appropriate way. For birthdays, our philosophy is that the children want to have fun with the fire truck, not hear a safety lecture, so any safety information is presented in a more subtle way. At schools, we place additional emphasis on a safety message as it fits the curriculum and mission of most schools. Most school programs include a very brief and entertaining Fire Safety Lesson on topics such as 911, pool safety, and stop drop and roll.
What should the children wear?
Children can dress as they normally would for school or a party, although we suggest comfortable casual clothing is helpful due to the active nature of our programs. In the summer, if you have chosen our Water Day option, bathing suits are suggested for the kids and sunscreen is also a great idea. In the winter, we still use water in our activities, but in a more controlled way that keeps everyone mostly dry. No matter what the season, there is a chance kids will get a little bit wet, and of course, we use sound judgement in adjusting our programs to the weather and circumstances. Happy comfortable kids and happy parents are our goal! We do require that all children have footwear at all times for their own safety.
Can you customize the party packages?
Yes! If you don't see exactly what suits your needs here, just let us know and we can customize a program to fit your wishes. We can modify nearly any aspect of our programs to customize them for the needs of our clients.
Is this actually a real fire truck? Are you somehow affiliated with the fire department?
Our truck is a fully restored antique American LaFrance Century Series Pumper truck that was retired after 24 years of service with the City of Berkley Michigan and joined our fleet in 2009. It is the quintessential classic American fire truck depicted in movies, cartoons and television. Thousands of hours have been invested to restore the truck to its pristine condition. The truck is in museum-quality condition, is 100% functional, and has been refitted to enhance its mission of fun and safety education with lots of things that can be touched, felt, climbed on, experienced, tried on, lifted up, and otherwise fully involve the children in engaging ways. This hands-on involvement is the key to our mission. We are not affiliated with any local fire department or city. We're very lucky to have many admirers in our local fire and police departments and value their friendship and ongoing support of our mission. Our presentations differ greatly from the outreach efforts of your local fire department. Because we are children's entertainers that use the symbolism and excitement of firefighting as our program, our team is especially skilled at relating to and entertaining kids...but please don't call us if your house catches fire!
What age groups are appropriate for the Fantastic Fire Department? How large of a group can you accommodate?
All of our programs can be tailored for any size group or age group from toddlers to adults.
Do the children get wet?
This depends on the season. We have designed a wide range of hands-on activities that include water, and many that do not. We choose activities based on the season and setting. We can keep the kids completely dry if you want, or soak them thoroughly from head to toe. Even though many of our activities use water, this does not necessarily mean the children will get wet. During our warm Arizona summers, any of our programs can be presented as a "Water Day" with a special focus on water and staying cool.
How much do you charge?
Our birthday party pricing is competitive with other professionally-presented entertainment options like pizza arcades, petting zoos, magicians, etc. See the Birthday Parties page for pricing. We offer special pricing for schools and other non-profit groups, please call for prices of these programs. Our programs are much more affordable than many people may expect. We also encourage you to consider the tremendous value provided by our party packages that include games, activities, prizes and a fully-organized experience from start to finish, ultimately saving you time and money versus doing all the legwork yourself. There is nothing that compares to the unique, complete party experience we offer. We are fully licensed, insured, highly experienced and professional, and will put your mind at ease from the moment you make your reservation. We guarantee that your child will be talking about the birthday party with the fire truck longer than any birthday party, ever!
How is payment handled? Is it okay to pay by check? Is a deposit required?
For birthday parties and other private events, a reservation fee of $100 is typically charged to your Visa, Mastercard, American Express, or Discover card at the time of booking. This is a non-refundable reservation fee and is applied to the total party fee. The balance is charged to your credit or debit card the business day prior to your event. If you wish to pay by cash or check instead, we can accommodate this option as well. For schools and businesses, we will invoice you and you may process payment through your normal Accounts Payable channels.
When are you available? What areas do you serve?
We are available for events 365 days a year, including holidays. We serve the greater Phoenix Metro area, and all large and small cities and planned communities in the Valley including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tempe, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Peoria, Paradise Valley, Anthem, Buckeye, Verrado, Ahwatukee, Ocotillo, Estrella Mountain Ranch, Carefree, Apache Junction, Avondale, Laveen, Fountain Hills, Surprise, Maricopa, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, Goodyear, Youngtown, the Sun Cities, and more.
Are you local company or a franchise of some sort?
Fantastic Fire Department is headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona and is locally owned. Our second location covering Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and Miami Florida opened in March 2012 featuring a beautiful E-One Pumper truck that formerly served the citizens of Superior, Arizona. We have big plans! Our high quality, branded, and completely unique Fire Truck Adventures for Kids have generated interest across the country. Our concept has been designed for a national rollout. Expect to see additional locations opening in other major cities very soon.
What needs to be provided by the client?
We arrive completely self-contained. Your only obligation is to have a space ready for the fire truck when it arrives. No electricity is required. Occasionally, we may need access to a standard garden hose faucet for certain water activities. We do request the assistance of several adults to help supervise the children and ensure that everyone stays safely away from any passing traffic or other hazards. We find adults are just as anxious to learn all about Fantastic Fire Department, too!
How long will it take to set up once you arrive?
Our set-up is almost instantaneous because we have learned how excited the children are to get started once the truck arrives. We begin by safely parking the truck, placing traffic cones as appropriate to create a safety zone, and setting up the appropriate equipment for whatever activities we have planned.
Are there any party favors included?
There are party favors included with the 60 Minute Party Package. Please see the Birthday Parties section of the website for specific details on what is included with each package. We have additional party favor options available for purchase.
Is tipping necessary?
You will be very impressed by the quality and professionalism of our party team. They work very hard to deliver a once-in-a-lifetime experience for your child and guests. Tipping is at your discretion if you feel that you received value above and beyond your expectations. Our Fantastic Firefighters guarantee the same level of quality and professionalism regardless.
May we videotape and/or take photos?
Yes, of course! There are plenty of great photo and video opportunities. Many priceless memories can be captured. We have intentionally designed our party experiences so that they have many staged moments for adorable photos of your kids.
What is the cancellation policy?
You may cancel your performance up to eight days before the event date. The deposit charged at the time of booking is not refundable, although we are happy to apply this amount to a future party. If the booking is cancelled with less than eight days notice, you will be responsible for payment of the fee in full, although this may also be applied to a future party.
How long should the party be? When should the truck arrive?
On average, most birthday parties are scheduled for 2-3 hours. This allows for enough time for the Fire Truck visit, singing Happy Birthday, opening presents and so on. We suggest that you allow 20-30 minutes margin at the beginning of the party for late arrivals. For example, if your party begins at 3:00 PM, we would recommend scheduling the fire truck for 3:30 PM in order to allow for late guests to not miss the truck's exciting arrival.
We would like to book the 60 Minute Birthday Package. How many kids can you take on the fire truck ride?
We typically can accommodate 10-15 people on the truck for a ride, depending on the mixture of shapes and sizes of adults and kids. If your party is large, we may present several fire truck rides as needed to accommodate everyone. Safety is a huge concern for us, so the ride is carefully organized and supervised and rarely exceeds speeds of 10 MPH as it winds through the quiet streets of your neighborhood. Parents may ride along and the truck is equipped with seatbelts for safety.
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