By Jim Buell
This week’s school visits
The Fire Department this week is visiting local schools for its annual review of fire prevention and safety with the children. We encourage parents to discuss with their children the programs that they participated in with the fire department and review the important concepts as a family.
Here is a recap.
Kindergarteners to second-graders learned the “dos” of fire safety. Children were taught: to stop, drop, and roll; crawl low in smoke; go to a firefighter and not hide from one; understand that firefighters are friends, not people to fear; to place the back of their hand on a door to see if it is hot and if it can be opened; and when the smoke alarm sounds, to get out and always stay out.
The children played a fun game to teach them that if they were trapped in their bedroom, they could throw a pillow out the window to alert firefighters to their location.
Children were also taught that candles, lighters, and matches are tools, not toys, and to always let an adult use these items so that they don’t get hurt or burned. We reviewed the emergency telephone number, 911.
Third- and fourth-graders learned the “don’ts” of fire safety using the fire safety trailer, which identifies home hazards such as cords under carpeting, electrical appliances that are too close to water sources, tripping hazards, and the importance of keeping combustibles away from heating sources like woodstoves or fireplaces.
Students practiced exiting the trailer, climbing out a window and down a two-step escape ladder, to a family meeting place. If your family doesn’t already have a home escape plan with a meeting place, we encourage you to work on one. If you need help, please feel free to contact us. We will be happy to assist you in creating a plan.
The fifth-graders met as a group with a police officer and dispatcher to discuss 911, how to report an emergency, and general safety items. They found it is really important to stay on the phone with the dispatcher until they tell you it’s okay to hang up. A Shelburne Police officer also reviewed general safety items like stranger-danger and wearing a helmet while riding a bike or skateboard.
Sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders interacted with the fire officers, who gave a presentation on electrical fire safety and the science of fire. Ask your child how fuel, heat, and oxygen work together causing a fire, and what happens when one of these items is removed. Ask them why it is important to have a home escape plan and to get out quickly. Take some time to walk through your home, looking for electrical fire hazards. Your middle schooler will inform you of important safety tips.
We encourage you to talk to your child and discuss the various fire prevention and safety programs that they attended. These discussions will help enforce the lessons learned and remember… fire prevention/safety isn’t just one week of the year, but all 52!
Jim Buell is a former assistant chief of the Shelburne Fire Department.