Students at Increase Miller Elementary School recently put aside their notebooks and pencils and instead took up hoses, nozzles and other firefighting apparatus. Local fire engines became their classrooms and members of the Golden’s Bridge Fire Department stepped in as guest teachers to give a very important lesson in fire safety and prevention.
Throughout the school day, students in grades K-3 headed to gleaming fire engines parked at the school’s front entrance, where the department’s volunteer firefighters provided interactive demonstrations and lessons in fire safety. Students were captivated by Fire Rescue Lt. Jordan Miller, whose demonstration of breathing apparatus while fully garbed in more than 100 pounds of protective gear made him look more like a space traveler than a firefighter.
The inquisitive students climbed into the engines, imagining what it would be like to be a firefighter. Midway through one session, students of a third-grade class got to witness the firefighters abruptly dash off in the engine in response to a real emergency call.
“Fire safety and prevention is serious business, which is why we spend time every year with students at Increase Miller Elementary School,” said Mike Melillo, president of the Golden’s Bridge FD. “Awareness and education are an important part of prevention and safety for adults and children. We encourage the students to discuss with their parents what they learned about fire safety.”
Second-grade teacher Lisa Alvord said both students and staff members look forward to Fire Safety Day at IMES. “When the children go outside, they are enamored with the fire trucks, equipment and gear,” she said. “By the end of the presentation, they have learned about the genuine significance of fire safety and the important role of the Golden's Bridge Fire Department in our community. The students return to their classrooms and discuss how vital fire safety is at school, and hopefully they continue the discussion at home with their families. We value what the fire department does and thank them for their dedication to the students and staff.”
IMES Assistant Principal Andrew Galotti said, “We feel that it is important to set aside time for our students to visit the firefighters and fire trucks. Although it is a fun activity for the students, they are also learning about fire safety.”
At the end of each session, members of the Golden’s Bridge FD provided students with activity books, rulers and other items to remind them of the importance of fire safety. Firefighters also left them with these tips:
* Talk to your parents about an escape plan.
* Get outside as quickly as possible.
* You will breathe less smoke by dropping to the floor, staying low and crawling to the exit.
* Have a meeting place – like a neighbor’s front porch or another nearby spot a safe distance from your house – so that emergency responders will know that everyone is safely out of the house.
* Once you’re outside, do not go back into the house for anything – even pets or a favorite toy; toys are replaceable and the firefighters may be able to help rescue pets that are still inside.
* If you can’t get out right away – for example, if fire or smoke is blocking an escape route – yell for help by an open window or call 911 if you have a phone with you.
* Never hide under a bed or in a closet because firefighters will have a hard time finding you.