“Whoa,” Camaro Bryant said as she strapped herself into the seat of a fire engine.
She and her first grade classmates at Westmoor Elementary took a trip to the Scottsbluff Fire Department on Tuesday in honor of Fire Prevention Week.
“They’re learning the basics of fire safety,” their teacher Rebecca Coxbill said.
The National Fire Protection Association has sponsored Fire Prevention Week since 1922. It became a national observance in 1925, making it the longest-running public health observance in the United States, according to the NFPA.
The goal, said firefighter Cody Scott, is to save lives and prevent fire-related injuries.
Scott sat on the floor with the students, going over how to stop, drop and roll, and the proper way to escape a fire.
Then the kids had the opportunity to watch another firefighter, Tyrell Gill, put on his uniform as Scott explained each piece. When the time came for Gill to put his mask on, Scott pointed out that he was going to look and sound different.
“You can still see his eyes though,” Scott said. “It’s still Tyrell.”
Teaching kids not to fear firefighters and getting them used to the way one looks in full uniform can play a roll in getting children out of a dangerous situation more quickly.
“We might look scary, but we’re there to help,” Scott told the group. “It’s important that you don’t hide from us.”
After each student took the time to knock on Gill’s helmet, they headed into another part of the station where they got to explore the ladder truck before getting the chance to operate a firehose.
Scott said there are precautions every family should take to prevent fires and the injuries and deaths associated with them, including installing working smoke detectors, testing them and changing the batteries regularly.
“You should have one on every level, although ideally you’d have one in every room,” Scott said.
He also emphasized the importance of forming and practicing an escape plan so that children know what to do and where to go in the case of an emergency.
According to the NFPA, only 1 in every 3 households have created and practiced a fire escape plan.
When creating a plan, draw out a map of the home and mark doors and windows. Make sure there are at least two ways out of each room and designate an outside meeting place, says the NFPA.
Practice a home fire drill at night and during the day at least twice a year.