AUBURN, Mass. – Auburn students are now better prepared if a fire ever happened in their homes after the Auburn Fire Department visited schools as part of Fire Prevention Week from Oct. 7 to 13.
On Tuesday, firefighters taught fire safety to third-, fourth- and fifth-graders at Pakachoag Elementary School, followed by a Wednesday presentation to kindergarteners, first- and second-graders at Bryn Mawr Elementary School.
“This allows children to get education that will hopefully stay with them for the rest of their lives and prevent fire deaths and injuries,” said Capt. Glenn Johnson, who heads the department’s fire prevention programs. “There is no special class for fire safety, so this is the only time to get this information.
“The kids seem to enjoy it, and it sticks with them,” Johnson added. “We ask them questions every year, and they remember from the year before.”
Johnson and Lt. Shawn Steele taught the students important fire-safety skills, such as stop, drop and roll, and how to plan an escape route from their home. In addition, the students learned what information they should give a 911 dispatcher and to “only call 911 if there is an actual emergency,” Johnson said. He also warned the kids to not play with matches and lighters, which are dangerous and “just for adults.”
Johnson also wanted to make sure the students weren’t afraid of firefighters.
“We might look and sound scary with our air masks, but we’re here to protect you guys and help you in an emergency,” Johnson told the students. “We just dress up for Halloween every day.”
Fire Prevention Week will conclude on Saturday with the Auburn Fire Department’s annual fire prevention open house. This year’s open house, from noon to 4 p.m., will be slightly different than past ones because it won’t be held at Fire Headquarters on Auburn Street. It will be at the department’s training facility at 7 West St.
In addition to children and adults participating in various activities, including a tour of the Fire District’s smoke house, learning the proper use of a fire extinguisher and other equipment demonstrations, firefighters will be showing some of the additions to the facility.
Firefighters will also hold other demonstrations, including vehicle extrication using the “Jaws of Life” and demonstrations of some of the special-operations teams, such as the Technical Rescue and Dive Team.
Later this month, the Fire Department will hold presentations at Julia Bancroft Elementary School, Mary D. Stone Elementary School, Tom Thumb Preschool, in addition to bringing the S.A.F.E. trailer to Julia Bancroft and Pakachoag Elementary Schools.