Department spreads fire prevention message

Published 11:57pm Thursday, October 17, 2013

Students across Dallas County are getting pumped up for fire prevention. The Selma Fire Department is making rounds to local schools to teach students how to get low and go, stop drop and roll and get out and stay out.

The department is nearing the end of its fire prevention tour and stopped by Bruce K. Craig Elementary School Thursday.

The show puts a fun twist on old rules, Selma firefighter Terrence Venter said.

“We try to keep the kids entertained but also inform them about fire safety,” Venter said. “Mistakes and accidents happen, but we try to teach the children to avoid those mistakes.”

Firefighters showed students flashcards of things to avoid such as lighters, stoves and space heaters. The class also included several skits, where firefighter James Murphy dresses up as a grandma and a young child.

At one point, firefighters called two students on stage for a game of tag. The game of tag continued as usual until a lighter fell on the floor. The student playing tag immediately stopped, avoiding stepping on the lighter.

Incorporating lessons into games helps students learn easier, Venter said.

The show didn’t always include fun and games. Firefighter James Murphy said the show has evolved since it started 15 years ago to keep children interested.

“It started as just sort of a lecture originally, then we brought out Sparky and showed then the equipment, but now we try to play around a little bit and use visual learning,” Murphy said.

The classes also change based on the audience, Venter said. Elementary school students are taught to let adults operate fire extinguishers, whereas middle and high school students are given instructions on how to operate extinguishers.

The department will teach 60 classes by the end of October. The classes are valuable because they teach children how to handle emergencies at a young age, Selma Fire Chief Mike stokes said.

“We have heard stories of children being able to save their families because of basic fire prevention measures that they learn,” Stokes said. “Our goal is for the children to bring what we teach them back to their family.”

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