Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

Students learn fire safety from local firefigthers

September 27, 2007

Stop, drop and roll was just one of the lessons local preschoolers learned about fire safety Tuesday.

As a part of a community helpers unit, the Early Intervention and Developmental Services classes out of Basehor Elementary School have been spending time with various professionals in the community including police officers, doctors and mail carriers to learn what they do and how they help others.

A trip to the Fairmount Township Fire Station helped the young students learn about the duties of firefighters as well as fire safety on Tuesday. The classes were the first of many groups of students that will visit the station beginning in October, which is Fire Safety Month.

"This is our first group of the year, so we're going to be knocking out all the cobwebs," firefighter Nick Verbenec said before the presentation.

The lesson started with what to do in case of a fire such as staying low to the ground to avoid smoke and getting out of the house without worrying about possessions.

"When there's a fire, is it important to grab your favorite toy?" Verbenec asked the 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds. "Your toys will burn, but you can buy new toys. It's just important to get yourself out."

With the help of firefighter Ken Marah, Verbanec then put on each piece of his protective gear including pants, jacket, oxygen tank and boots. After putting on each piece of gear, he showed the children that he was still firefighter Nick even though he had all the heavy equipment on. The last pieces to go on were his helmet and oxygen mask.

"That keeps the smoke out of his face so he doesn't breathe it in," Marah said about the mask. "That's bad stuff."

A round of high fives gave the students a chance to touch the gear to see what it felt like and Verbanec encouraged them not to hide from firefighters if they were ever in a fire -- even if the gear makes them look a little intimidating.

Next, one of the fire trucks was driven out of the garage for the children to view. Verbanec went through all the different equipment on the truck including hoses, nozzles and tools. Then the students were invited to have a seat inside the truck.

Bracelets and coloring books on fire safety were handed out before wrapping up the presentation.

"I want you guys to do me a favor," Verbanec said to the students before they headed back to school. "Whenever you see a fire truck, an ambulance or a police car, I want you to wave at us. That way we know you see us and we see you."

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