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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rescue Heroes is an action cartoon that incorporates important safety skills such as dialing 911, extinguishing a fire, and warding off hypothermia. Adults and kids find themselves in life-threatening situations (volcanoes, sinking ships, forest fires) that might frighten younger or sensitive kids, but ultimately everyone escapes the danger thanks to the heroic efforts of the rescuers. The characters don't always make good choices, but they do learn that their actions can have serious consequences for themselves and for others, and the show's hallmark themes include teamwork, preparedness, and responsibility.
What's the story?
RESCUE HEROES is an animated series that depicts rescue personnel and the specialized tools they use in their response to emergencies. Originally airing from 1999 to 2002, the series centers on first responders Jake Justice (voiced by Martin Roach), Billy Blazes (Norm Spencer), Ariel Flyer (Deborah Odell), Wendy Waters (Lenore Zann), and trainee Rocky Canyon (Joseph Motiki), as well as a rotating cast of support personnel. No matter where in the world an emergency happens, the Rescue Heroes leap into action to save the victims and neutralize the threat, all the while demonstrating essential safety tips for the audience.
Is it any good?
Rescue Heroes does a lot of things right, from casting true-to-life heroes like firefighters and police officers in place of superpower-charged men of steel to keeping the stories' content relatable to the kids who are watching. Each episode involves a different emergency situation of some kind, and whether it's a house fire or weather-related dangers, viewers will pick up useful tips for staying safe in similar scenarios themselves. Thanks to Billy Blazes and his team, kids see the value of knowing how to prevent an emergency and how to stay safe if they find themselves in one.
For a cartoon with such an emphasis on teaching, though, Rescue Heroes never comes across as preachy or overly instructional, which ensures that kids will give their full attention to the stories. What's more, the show's careful attention to the relationships among the characters allows kids to learn from their actions and subsequent consequences, which aren't always happy but do offer important social messages.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how to prepare for a variety of emergencies. What tools and supplies do you keep on hand in the event of a storm or a power outage? Does your family have a fire escape plan? Kids: Do you know how to call for help if there's an emergency at home?
Kids: Who are the rescuers in your town? Where are they located? How can you get in touch with them? What information should you share with them if you have to call 911?
What did the characters learn in this story? Whose actions had negative consequences? How could they have made better choices? What would you have done differently in their shoes?
- Premiere date: October 2, 1999
- Cast: Lenore Zann, Martin Roach, Norm Spencer
- Networks: CBS, CW, Syndicated
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Superheroes, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Courage, Integrity, Teamwork
- TV rating: TV-Y7
- Available on: Streaming
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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