Unaka first-graders visit fire station for a first-hand lesson on fire safety

Published 8:31 am Monday, September 29, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks

Stop, drop and roll!
In celebration of Fire Prevention Month, first-grade students at Unaka Elementary visited the Elizabethton Fire Department to learn fire safety skills and how the fire department operates.
“October is fire safety month, so we wanted to expose them to the firemen, the fire trucks and their equipment,” said Unaka Elementary first-grade teacher Joy Reynolds. “We don’t want them to be afraid of the firemen. We want for them to know about fire safety and to know what the firemen will look like in those emergency situations.”
EFD firefighter Jerry Smith led the tour for the 35 students, who came to the fire department Friday morning.
The children were told about the importance of smoke detectors, and the need to have an family emergency plan in case of fire at their home. They were told to have a place to meet outside away from the home so everyone would know where the other family members were.
Smith told the students never to go back into a burning building after they had escaped.
“I know you all have pets and favorite toys, but if you get to your meeting spot and you see that your dog is not there, do not go back into the house,” Smith said. “Once you are out, stay out. When the firefighters get there, tell them and any firefighter will try his best to get your pets out for you.”
The students were taught the proper method to “stop, drop and roll” in case their clothes caught on fire. Smith told the children to cover their faces while rolling, and to roll until their clothes were extinguished. They were also taught how to crawl below smoke and how to check doors to see if they are hot from flames on the other side.
Firefighter Jeremiah Tolley also dressed in the department’s turnout gear to show the youngsters what a firefighter would look like if they ever had to enter their home to fight a fire. The children were given a tour of the station and viewed the fire trucks, equipment and the living quarters for the firefighters.
Students Khloe Markland and Christian Pritchard presented the EFD with letters and drawings the students had made.
“Thank you for being so brave,” Markland told the firefighters.
During October, the EFD will speak with almost all of the preschool, kindergarten and elementary students in the city. Several of the county schools will also make visits to the fire department as well.

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