This morning we held our first of several Fire Prevention and Education visits to the Schools in our district. Asst. Chief Roberto, Firefighters Lou Scagnelli and Angelina Carrol arrived around 10 am and were greeted by the entire class at Kids Kottage Preschool. Children and staff learned about smoke detectors, what to do if there is smoke, fire or other emergency. Know 2 ways out, having a special meeting place, stay low and go, dont hide, go outside, get out stay out, stop, drop, and roll, just a few of the phrases mentioned during the presentation.
One of the issues commonly encountered is the fear that children may have of firefighters when they are suited up in their gear. A key piece of our program is to take away that fear and have the kids come to us rather than run away and hide. We first show the children each piece of the ensemble, let them touch it and hold it. We then have the children watch as one of our firefighters suits up, transforming from just "Bob" to "Firefighter Bob". We then get down on the floor and allow them to come over to see, feel, and hear what we will sound like if we have to come and find them in an emergency.
We finish up by giving them a tour of one of our Apparatus. They look at all of the tools and equipment and of course, get to sit in side. Before we say our goodbye's, we leave each child with a fire prevention goody bag for them to learn (as well as have some fun).
We visit each preschool and Elementary school in our Fire Protection District each year. As the children get older, we build on the foundation we start in preschool. Although we hope they never need to use the lessons learned, we hope we give them the knowledge to know what to do if the need ever arises.