By Kitsey Burns Harrison
EAST BEND — At schools and events across the region, fire departments are doing what they can to education youth during Fire Prevention Week. “Here the beep where you sleep” is the slogan for this year, a reminder of the importance of being able to hear a smoke detector from anywhere in the home, and particularly in the bedroom when families are asleep.
Members of the Forbush Fire Department took their trucks and gear to Forbush Elementary School on Friday where kids got to get up close and personal with the equipment and the fire trucks. The children even had the opportunity to go through a fire simulation and practice what they should do if they ever encounter a real life fire.
“It’s important to the students because we want to make sure they are safe, not just at school, but at home,” said Principal Anthony Davis. “These guys at the fire department do a great job of volunteering their time and their training to make sure that the students know how to be safe in an emergency situation.”
Davis said while fire drills and safety reviews are done once a month, it’s not something families typically do at home. By educating the children on important fire safety and emergency protocols, they hope the children will then remind the parents what to do in an emergency situation.
“We’re trying to familiarize the children with what happens, what can catch on fire in the house, what possible problems are in the house and if there is a fire what to do,” explained Forbush Assistant Fire Chief Tony Gagliardia. “We’re also trying to let them know what a fireman coming in the house looks like because they look like a monster and we don’t want to scare them.”
With all their gear on, including the face mask, the firefighters do resemble Darth Vader or some other scary villain. During the presentation, students were introduced to a firefighter in regular clothes and then watched as piece by piece he put on the full gear which would be used in a fire.
Gagliardi said by showing the children what a firefighter in full gear looks like, they hope to prevent them from running away or being frightened if they should be in a fire and have to be rescued by a firefighter.
The children squealed with delight as they high-fived firefighter Andrew McLean in his full gear.
Davis had high praise for the Forbush Fire Department and the education work they were doing.
“I can’t thank our fire department here at Forbush enough for all the volunteer hours they’ve put in here at our school,” he said. “They’re always willing to help us here. These guys are very well trained and it’s evident. They’re really good with the students. They speak to the students so they will understand.”
The Forbush Fire Department also provides free smoke alarms. For more information visit their website ForbushVFD.com or visit their Facebook page.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.
Kitsey Burns Harrison | Yadkin Ripple Forbush firefighter Andrew McLean high-fives students at Forbush Elementary School.