Students learn about fire safety

Each October, firefighters with the Russellville Fire Department spend several days at West Elementary School making sure the students there learn the importance of fire safety at a young age.

In conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week, which is being observed nationally Oct. 7-13, firefighters from each shift came to the school to show students a video of fire safety and prevention, to show them the different parts of a fire truck, and to walk them through the Franklin County Fire Association’s fire safety house to show children first-hand what fire hazards look like and to teach them what to do in the event of a fire.

Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell said the event is something the RFD participates in each year in conjunction with the Alabama Forestry Commission in an effort to educate young children about the importance being safe when it comes to fire, both indoors and outdoors.

“Its never too early to start learning about fire hazards, what to do when a smoke detector goes off and how to safely get out of a home that might be on fire,” Mansell said.

“Inside the fire house we have different hazards such as an extension cord under a rug, cigarette lighters, a fire place and an oven. We’re able to show these things to the kids in a safe environment so they’ll know to spot safety hazards in their own homes and tell their parents to remove them.

“Sometimes we as adults can become complacent when it comes to fire safety because we assume we know what we’re doing and then a fire hazard can slip up on us without us knowing it.

“By talking to these kids, we can educate them and get them to help spot these things in their homes so everyone can be safer.”

Once the students learn about the fire hazards, they enter a room in the fire safety house where there is a smoke detector that goes off when the room is filled with artificial smoke.

“This is good because it shows the kids what it might be like if their home is really on fire,” Mansell said.

“We show them how to safely get out of the house and then tell them about the importance of having a family plan in place for where to meet outside the home so everyone can be accounted for. Hopefully this knowledge will save lives one day if any of them are ever actually involved in a fire.”

While at the school, firefighters also demonstrated several pieces of equipment used to fight fires and showed the students the different gear firefighters use.

The students also received some encouragement to be safe from Smoky the Bear and Sparky the Fire Dog.

“We want the program to be fun, but ultimately we want the kids to take some knowledge away from this,” Mansell said. “The best thing we can do for them is to educate them and hope that knowledge sticks with them through the years.”

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