Over the summer, McKeehan, 35, who works for the department's fire prevention bureau, and other city firefighters awarded local elementary students who demonstrated the best physical fitness, leadership and teamwork a day as Marietta firefighters.
"I grew up around a fire chief in Atlanta," said McKeehan, a 10-year firefighter veteran. "I listened to her tell stories and seeing her pictures and stuff - she just really motivated me. I've been wanting to be firefighter since I was pretty little."
Marietta City Schools helped to select about 10 rising sixth-graders to participate in the Firefighter for a Day program, an educational program to teach children about the profession.
Marietta Sixth Grade Academy students Lizette Perez, 11; Hannah Chukwura, 10; Zoey Zammit, 11; and Tymahjion Thomas, 11, were among those who participated. The fire department presented all of the students with certificates during their schools' award ceremonies at the end of the last school year.
Thomas said he was surprised to learn that the firefighters used a "yellow" fire fighting foam to put out fires.
"They don't use water because it makes a fire more bigger," Perez said.
The students joined firefighters in the department's downtown station, working out, washing fire trucks, conducting medical training and fire training in a simulator, going on a station and museum tour, and riding in a fire truck around Marietta Square.
"We try to mimic the day of a firefighter," he said. "We wanted to do something for the kids and bring them in and let them check out the fire department."
There are about 131 uniformed personnel and three civilian employees who work in the Marietta Fire Department's six stations. In 2009, city fire units responded to 10,012 calls, including 264 fire calls, 4,225 emergency medical calls and 407 calls for hazardous conditions.
The Firefighter for a Day program gives children an opportunity to witness the positive work that firefighters are doing throughout the community so that they won't be so afraid the next time they see a big red fire truck, McKeehan said.
Zammit said her favorite part of the day was riding in a fire truck.
"We got to pull the siren," she said with a big smile.