Preventing the Worst
Jessica Carr , Daily Times Staff Reporter 10/08/2004
HOPKINS HILL -- In the wake of recent tragedies, two members of the Hopkins Hill Fire Department visited Hopkins Hill Elementary School yesterday afternoon to talk with some of the students about fire safety.
Preschool and kindergarten kids in Christine Nelson’s class listened as Capt. Brad Anderson and Lt. Raymond McGillivray talked about smoke detectors, escape plans, meeting places, and the protective procedures firefighters take before entering a burning building.
"When we go into a burning building we have to wear all these special pieces of equipment that help to protect us," Anderson said. "We have special boots and special pants that can withstand the heat of high temperatures."
As Anderson discussed the intricacies of traditional fire-fighter uniforms, McGillivray suited up with the 60 pounds of gear to demonstrate for the kids what they usually wear.
"We want you to be familiar with how we look when we are in our gear so if you are ever in a burning building you don’t get scared and run away," Anderson said. "Even if he looks a little scary, you never want to run away from one of us, you want to run toward us."
After discussing their job with the youngsters, Anderson and McGillivray asked the kids what their job in a fire is. Many responded correctly, according to the fire-fighters, as they replied, "to get out."
"Never ever go back into a burning house," said Rachel Barovier, a kindergarten student listening to the fire-fighter presentation.
The kids also learned never to hide, "even if you’re scared or even if you started the fire," Anderson said. They learned to test the heat of the door separating them from the burning flames by touching it with the back of their hand rather than their palm and they also learned about not trying to rescue other family members and pets. "That’s our job, as trained fire-fighters, to go back in and help -- not yours," Anderson said.
Gregory Silvia demonstrated for the others in the presentation the stop, drop and roll technique used when your clothes have caught on fire, as well as the crawl escape method for when your home is filling with flames.
"The most important thing I want you all to learn today from Mr. Anderson and Mr. McGillivray," Nelson said. "Is that they are there to help and protect you and that you should never be afraid of them because you will always be safer with them than on your own."
In addition to the lessons learned during the fire-fighter presentation, the students in Nelson’s class have also been studying an entire unit on fire prevention for the past two weeks in recognition of Fire Prevention Week. They have been reading short stories, viewing video clips and receiving tips from their teacher.
©Kent County Daily Times 2004