Students learn about fire safety

10-9 021By Jaime Thomas

Basic fire safety might be simple, but that doesn’t mean everyone is born knowing what to do in a blaze.

To teach such an important lesson, area firefighters gave presentations to every grade level at Mary J. Tanner School on Wednesday.

Chief Milt Dunbar of Penrhyn Engine and Hose, Co. said his department has been putting on the program for more than 20 years. He said the school visit was Fred Rhode Sr.’s project, but he recently passed away. So his son, Fred Rhode, Jr., picked up where his father left off.

“His son did it by himself for the first time this year, and they said he did an excellent job,” Dunbar said.

The point of the program is to teach kids the dos and don’ts of fire safety.

“We go over it with young kids to teach them the basics of fire safety and drills in the home for evacuation,” Dunbar said. He said trends have shown that this education has made a difference in fire prevention.

“Believe it or not, the kids take it all in and they take it home. We’ve seen a decrease in fire calls due to accidental stuff. The kids can tell their parents what to do in a situation,” he said.

During the presentation, the firefighters show and explain their trucks, equipment and other gear and discuss fire safety issues. The kids even get an opportunity to hold a running hose.

“It’s educational to help kids realize how they can be more conscious of fire safety,” Principal Diane Dumas said of the program. “I really appreciate that they take their time to come in,” she said, explaining that the firefighters were at the school for the majority of the day. “It makes a difference.”

Dunbar said his department invites a different neighboring crew to help with the event every year; this year Granville Engine and Hose participated. Dunbar said the department gave out a number of smoke detectors as well, which the school would distribute.

“They’re wonderful to do this; it’s a great program,” Dumas said.

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