Local Students Learn About Fire Prevention

Published: October 24, 2016 at 12:00 am


From learning what smoke detectors sound like to climbing through fire trucks, students learned safety lessons from local fire companies ahead of and during Fire Prevention Week, October 9 to 15 this year.

After walking down the hill from Trinity Day School, preschool students toured Newtown Hook & Ladder Co. #1 on Friday, October 7. Assistant Chief Jason Rivera and Firefighter Jason Shuttleworth brought the students into the firehouse's garage, where the students learned about some of the equipment used by firefighters and other aspects of fire prevention and safety.

Chief Rivera held up a smoke detector and asked the students if they knew what it was.

"It helps you know if there is a fire. It beeps if there is a fire," said one boy.

Chief Rivera turned on the "beep" so the students could hear what it would sound like. He also said that if they hear that sound in their home they should get out of the house and find a meeting place so that their mother or father can find them.

"We don't ever want to go back inside a house if there is a fire,"he said.

After Mr Shuttleworth demonstrated what firefighting gear looks like when on a firefighter, the students took turns offering him high-fives. Next the students climbed through fire trucks, and Chief Rivera took them outside so each could learn how to use a fire hose.

At Hawley Elementary School on October 11, Newtown Hook & Ladder Co. #1 members were again demonstrating fire safety lessons for students. Classes took turns rotating through presentations, either outside in front of two fire trucks where tools were shared, in classrooms where gear was demonstrated, or in the school's multipurpose room where a smoke room was created on the closed-off stage.

After leaving the smoke room, Hawley fourth grader Will Carley said he learned, "Crawl when you see any kind of smoke." Fourth grader Andrew Corey said he learned "stay low."

Along with learning how to navigate a smoke-filled room from Firefighter Frank McEneaney and Firefighter Matt Deysenroth, students also looked through a thermal imaging camera to learn how it works.

As Middle Gate Elementary School students made their way outside on Thursday, October 13, Botsford Fire Rescue members were ready. Bill McAllister, who said he oversees fire prevention, spoke to the students about how to leave their bedrooms if they are woken in the middle of the night by a smoke detector. He had student volunteers and Lieutenant Jim Swenson act out scenes for leaving a house if smoke is detected.

"We're the firemen... and firemen are always ready to help you," said Mr McAlister, before asking kindergarten teacher Dorothy Schmidt to help demonstrate what firefighting gear looks like when on a person.

Once she was suited up, Ms Schmidt made her way around a group of kindergarten students to wave and offer high-fives. Lt Swenson later helped demonstrate how students should "stop, drop, and roll" if their clothes catch on fire.

Near the end of the presentation, Mr McAlister asked the students to draw pictures of what they learned, to be shared at the firehouse. Other firefighters, he said, wanted to be there for the day but had to work, as the firefighters are volunteers.

"I'm gonna practice this at my house," one kindergarten student said as the group was heading back inside. Another told Mr McAlister, "When I grow up I want to be a real fireman."

Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Company Safety Officer Kirk Blanchard and Assistant Chief Brian Shimko met with students at Head O' Meadow Elementary School on Thursday, October 13.

Holding up a smoke detector, Mr Blanchard asked, "When they smell smoke, what are they going to sound like?"

"Beep, beep, beep," one kindergarten student offered.

Mr Blanchard told the students that when they hear a smoke detector, "Don't hide, go outside," and when they do leave their house to go outside they should, "stay low and go."

As a "homework assignment" Mr Blanchard asked the students to go home and talk to their parents about setting a meeting place outside the home in the event of an emergency. He also told the students not to go back inside the home for any reason.

"The firemen have been trained to save dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish..." Mr Blanchard said, naming each pet the students said they had at home.

Before asking student volunteers at Head O'Meadow School to demonstrate how to "stop, drop, and roll," Dodgingtown Volunteer Fire Safety Officer Kirk Blanchard, left, talked to the kindergartners about reasons to call 911. Later the students climbed through the fire truck before heading back inside the school. Ofc Blanchard was joined for the annual Fire Prevention Week presentation by Dodgingtown Fire Assistant Chief Brian Shimko.

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