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Students learn basics during Fire Safety Day

By Staff | Oct 21, 2009

Members of the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District visited The Sanibel School twice last week… but not for any emergencies. They were there to tell students about the importance of never playing with fire, remaining calm and following a few simple steps that could help save their lives should they ever encounter a real-life emergency.

On Thursday afternoon, firefighters Tim Barrett and John DeMaria offered a 30-minute demonstration to Barbara Simmons and Mary Eileen McDonnell’s kindergarten classes at the school’s media center. Their presentation included a 15-minute video featuring Sparky the Fire Dog, who talked about the four most important things to do in case of a fire – listen (for smoke alarms), look (for a way out of your home), smell (smoke, and get low while getting out) and touch (doors before opening them).

“If you get burned, here’s what I say, turn on the water and cool it right away,” Sparky said during the video.

The cartoon also taught some basic safety tips including:

Know two safe ways to get out of your home

Have at least one smoke alarm installed on each level of your home

Plan to have a meeting place for your family outside of your home

Practice you family’s safety plan at least twice per year

“We have five different safety videos, which are appropriate to different age groups,” said Barrett, the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District’s training officer.

Both DeMaria and Barrett explained to the group what to do if their clothes catch on fire, to remain calm if they hear a smoke alarm going off, what to do if they burn themselves, what do do if their house catches on fire and not to be afraid of firemen.

“It’s really important that we teach them some basic fire safety,” said DeMaria. “At this age, their minds are like glue. They already knew what to do – get low and go!”

At the end of their presentation, DeMaria suited up in his full firefighting outfit, including his boots, pants, jacket, head sock, mask, air tank and helmet. When Barrett turned on DeMaria’s air regulator, the kids thought it sounded like Darth Vader breathing.

As DeMaria walked around the room, allowing each of the students to touch his firefighting gear, Barrett stressed that although he might be a stranger and look unusual, they should not be afraid of firemen.

“This was so fresh and new,” Simmons said of the presentation. “It was a great show and very informative for the kids.”

For completing the Fire Safety Day program, all of the students received a plastic fire helmet, stickers, coloring books and certificates from Sparky.