“Stop, drop and roll!” This is a common fire safety procedure many students learn when they are young. Yet when students get older there is detailed information they need to learn to keep themselves, their family and friends safe in the event of a fire.
“We try to start with the younger kids…helping them to understand we are not a scary presence,” said Donn Dobson, a member of Madison Hose Company #1. Meeting with the older student, however, is different. Dobson explains that “as they get older we really have to explain how important and why" they are learning about fire prevention and safety.
Madison Hose Company #1 visited Island Avenue School in conjunction with 2012 Fire Prevention Week. First and second graders were introduced to the fire truck and the firefighter gear, in addition to hands-on practice with a fire hose hooked up to a fire hydrant. The third and fourth grade students learned very specific ways to ensure safety during a fire.
“They are a captive audience and they’re willing to listen and learn,” said Dobson. He explained that in the United States over 4,500 – 5,000 people die annually in fires and in the State of Connecticut that number is 30 -35 people.
Some important safety tips the older children learned:
- Use 911 for emergencies only and follow the dispatcher’s instructions.
- Discuss safety plans with all members of your family.
- Plan two escape routes and know the routes, making sure windows and doors are easy to open.
- Designate a family meeting place, preferably in front of your home.
- Make sure your home has working smoke detectors.
It was stressed that working smoke detectors are the most important item a house can have to ensure safety for all.
“Fire blows, doubles and triples every minute,” stressed Dobson. “So if there’s a fire in your house it’s going to grow pretty quickly. The biggest and best thing in the house is the smoke detectors.”
A smoke house gave the students an opportunity to experience “an escape,” when the house filled up with smoke. They left via a window and a ladder down the side of the structure.
“If you have a smoke detector, when it detects smoke it goes off between 9 and 12 seconds after detecting smoke,” Dobson told the students. “It’s pretty quick. It gives you more than enough time to get yourself out.”