Safety Spot

by Jim Buell, 2nd Asst. Chief at the Shelburne Fire Dept.

A Shelburne Firefighter helps teach an SCS student how to safely climb down a fire escape. Photo by Tricia Kennedy

Dear Mom and Dad,

Today the fire department came and visited us at school. It was a lot of fun talking with them and hearing their message on safety tips that can help our family out. Ask me what I learned.

For those of us in kindergarten to 2nd grade, we heard that if fire gets on us, we should Stop Drop and Roll. If there is smoke in the house, we learned to Crawl Low and Go. The fun part was we got to practice this using the Stop  Drop and Roll gym mat and the fire department’s smoke house. I can show you how to do it!  We also heard that if we are trapped, we should throw our pillow out of the window. How funny is that! The entire class broke up laughing when the fireman threw the pillow across the room. He also told us that we should never jump out of a window, but hang and drop. Hey, I know the emergency telephone number, it’s 911! We learned that it is important to stay on the phone with the dispatcher and to never hang up on them. A firefighter, along with one of our teachers, got dressed up in all of the gear they wear. That was neat, and we learned that firefighters are our friend and someone not to hide from. The fireman told us that if we needed to, when the fireman would holler looking for us, we could use our outside voice to holler back and let him know where we were. I can show you how to do that too! Did you know that smoking cigarettes is bad? We found that out today, and never will I start that nasty habit. The firefighter also told us that it is important to get out of a building if the smoke alarm sounds, even if it is from burnt food on the stove. That reminds me, we need to sit down at the table as a family to develop a home escape plan and then practice it. I have dibs on picking out our family meeting place! We finished up our day playing a neat game, Tools versus Toys. That was fun; I can play it with you if you like.

The 3rd and 4th graders got to go outside and tour the Fire Safety Trailer. That was a lot of fun and very interesting. The firefighters used little rooms to demonstrate home hazards that we had to find. That was a lot of fun and at the end we got to exit from the bedroom down an escape ladder. The firefighters were right there helping us get down. We need to get the family together to walk through our house and see what hazards we can find and then correct. The firefighters also reminded us that when we change our clocks back, we need to change the batteries in our smoke and CO detectors.  Can we make a trip to the store to buy the batteries? One thing they told us that we can help you with is if we bring a live tree in our house to celebrate Christmas, I can be responsible to check and make sure it has water each day. That is something I can do if it is okay with you.

Fifth graders met as a group in the cafeteria and listened to a police officer discuss 911 and how to report an emergency. It is really important to stay on the phone with the dispatcher until they tell us that it is okay to hang up. We also discussed general safety items like stranger/danger, wearing our helmet when we ride a bike or skateboard, things like that. Let’s talk at dinner and I’ll fill you in.

Well, all those things were neat when we were in elementary school, but now that we are middle schooler’s we already know all that stuff. This year all 6th through 8th graders gathered in the cafeteria and viewed and discussed a power point presentation. The fire officer doing the presentation spoke about the fire tetrahedron, how Class A, B, and C fires are fought (using the tetrahedron to illustrate) and how they approach safety from the perspective of a proactive action (by doing education and making people aware) and a reactive action (how the fire department does fire suppression). He spoke to us about making good decisions when it comes to taking risks. It was a very interesting presentation; we should take some time to review that information as a family.

For all of us, it was a great day and we learned a lot. Now, ask me what I learned and what I can share with you!

Your loving son or daughter

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