FIRE EDUCATION Learning fire safety Scottsbluff firefighters visit Bearcub Preschoolers.

Gensis Morales high fives firefighter Andrew Kelley before heading outside to see the fire truck. Morales learned about fire safety.

Scottsbluff firefighters visited Bearcub Preschool students at Roosevelt Elementary Tuesday, Nov. 5 as students learned the importance of fire safety.

As the firefighters came into Jessica Dutton’s classroom, preschoolers in Dutton’s and Elise Gurrola’s classrooms gathered on the rug. Lt. Chad Hobbs talked to students about calling 911 if there is a house fire and someone is injured.

Firefighter Mike Levick talked to the students about knowing their home addresses, so when they call 911, they can tell the dispatcher where to send help.

“We need to know where the emergency,” Levick said. “When you go home, talk to your parents about that because when you call 911, you need to know that.”

Firefighter Andrew Kelley visited with students about items around the house that are safe and unsafe to play with.

“Do we play with matches?” he asked the preschoolers. “No, we don’t play with matches.”

Students also said they don’t play with candles or the stove because they are hot and can burn themselves.

Should a fire start in their home, students said they will call 911. If they can safely get out of the house, Kelley told the students to crawl.

“If we get down on the ground and crawl out, there’s good, clean air down there,” he said.

Kelley also asked the students if they sleep with their bedroom doors closed.

“If we sleep with our doors closed, the smoke and the fire can’t get into our bedrooms,” Kelley said.

Students also learned the Stop, Drop and Roll technique to put out a fire should their clothes become inflamed.

“I learned it’s good to sleep with my door closed,” said Daniel Marez.

Marez said his favorite part of the firefighters visiting Tuesday was seeing the fire truck because it’s cool. He also learned firefighters are not scary.

“No, they are not scary because they put the fire out and they’re safe,” he said.

Dutton hopes the students are more comfortable around firefighters.

“I hope it creates familiarity for the children with the firefighters and they see them as a helpful person,” Dutton said.

Gurrola also hopes students learned about fire gear.

“I liked them dressing up and that it familiarizes students with community leaders,” she said.

Some of Gurrola’s students are 3 years old and had their first interaction with firefighters Tuesday.

“I think this is their first experience with community leaders and it’s a positive one.”

Both teachers said students will learn more about firefighters and safety over the next week.

Hobbs hopes the students remember to call 911 for emergencies and that “we’re there to help them. We want to show them not to be scared of firefighters.”

While teaching students about fire safety, Hobbs said studies have tested the impact of smoke and fire on rooms with a door closed and a door open.

“Having the door closed has been proven to keep fire and smoke out because there’s a barrier in the way,” he said.

The door also buys time for first responders to arrive and for firefighters to get into the house and rescue people.

Students received a red firefighter hat and a fire safety color book with activities to take home. Hobbs hopes families work through the packet with their kids and develop a plan should a fire occur.

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Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at

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