Learning about fire safety

First Posted: 10/13/2014

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Well, not always.

Students at the Dallas Elementary School had a chance to experience a “Smoke House,” a mobile learning station set up to simulate a real house fire. Children were taught how to safely exit a fire by using techniques such as “low and go,” a slogan reminding the that, during a fire, the closer you are to the ground, the lower the temperature.

The two-day event marked Fire Prevention Week and provided several educational learning stations.

Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Chief Maureen Oremus guided children from pre-school to fifth grade through the building, beginning with a presentation emphasizing the importance of keeping flammable substances away from flames, safe cooking methods, responding to a fire alarm, the proper use of a fire extinguisher by adults and the importance of working smoke detectors within the home.

“Its really important to put your thinking caps on when you’re in an emergency,” Oremus told the children. “It’s important to think clearly.”

Although a few children were a bit afraid, most entered the smoke filled room fearlessly, remembering to stay close to the floor and move quickly.

Gavin Hayes, 3, said the smokehouse was the favorite part of the event.

Firefighter Lindsey Oremus demonstrated feeling a door before opening it.

“Feel it with the back of your hand,” Lindsey told students. “If it’s hot, don’t open it. Get to a window and let someone know you’re there.”

“Even if you’re afraid, never hide in a fire,” she added. “We need to be able to find you quickly.”

Second-grade teacher Dyan Nice was thrilled at the opportunity her students had for learning in an interactive and fun environment.

“The students loved it,” she said. “After the presentation, they were discussing what they would do in a fire and the various safety techniques.”

Firefighter Ron Casterline gave young participants a tour of the engine truck, explaining the uses of ladders, hoses, ventilating equipment and lights. He also guided the children to the “top” of the truck where the controls are located.

“From here, we can make sure that water gets to the hoses and everyone works together,” said Casterline.

Miranda Brody, 4, said, “Getting to go on top of the fire truck was the best thing.”

Alyssa Traver, 4, remembered the slogan, “Get low and go!”

Hayes said, “Get out of the building first, then call 911.”

Fire Police Captain Bob Adams described the importance of teamwork to the children as they worked their way through the Smoke House, telling them, “Everyone is different, but we work together.”

Students also had an opportunity to become familiar with a “brush truck,” capable of leaving the main roads and fighting fires in areas of bushes, shrubs and brush.

Exeter Township Firefighter Austin Nocera said the brush truck gave him a chance to demonstrate the proper use of a hose.

“When I turned on the water, that seemed to be their favorite part,” he said.

Health teacher Angela Lizonitz said the event coincided with classroom fire safety curriculum of Fire Prevention Week.

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