October was Fire Prevention month and the Emerald Isle Fire Department did another excellent job of providing Fire and Life Safety education for the youngsters in our County. For the last twelve years they have put together an educational program mainly for children of pre-school through third grade age. The number of children participating each year has grown, and this year over 300 children participated with children coming from as far as Newport and Morehead City.
All of the firemen look forward to this annual event and all participate in the presentations. They are always looking for new ways to teach the children fire safety. Part of the session is to have the children mix with firemen in firefighting gear, to try to make them feel more comfortable if they should encounter a fireman in an actual fire.
The program starts with a puppet show dealing with fire safety and illustrates what to do in case a fire does occur. Next the children are divided into groups of 4 or 5 and they have a chance to get on the different types of firefighting vehicles, and receive an explanation of how each is used. They then get to tour the fire station, and see where the firemen, sleep, eat, and spend their spare time. As part of the tour, they visit the kitchen and talk about staying away from the stove which can have hot pans on top, or hot items in the oven. The sessions emphasize sayings such as "Stop, drop, and roll" if the children should find their clothing on fire; and "Get out and stay out" since many people are injured when they re-enter burning buildings to retrieve items of value. They are told the importance of checking smoke detectors and that "911" is a tool, not a toy. If the kids only remember one thing, the experts say the class is a success. The big treat for the kids at the end is the visit from Sparky, the firehouse mascot. The total session takes about an hour.
The education for the children continues when they get back to school. The teachers usually have a class where they talk about what they learned at the Fire Department, and they usually draw pictures related to what they learned. Most of the sessions take place at the Fire Station, but if for some reason that is inconvenient, Fire Department personnel will visit the schools. As you run into our Fire Department personnel, please thank them for a job well done. They deserve it.
I hope the Holiday Season is joyous for all of you, and I look forward to seeing you next year.