Students from Fredericktown Elementary school wrapped up Fire Prevention Week Oct. 13 with a trip to the Fredericktown Fire Department.
Fire Chief John Clark along with volunteer firefighters Jacob Farmer, Brandon Brown, Joe Barber and Russ Parker taught the children about fire and fire safety.
Clark explained to the students in order to have fire you need three things: oxygen, heat and fuel. If you take one of them away, the fire will go out.
“Don’t do this at home,” Clark said. “We train with fire so we know how to put them out.”
One child yelled from the group “I’m gonna tell my mom.”
Clark took this moment to pick one student to be Safety Supervisor for the demonstration.
“Safety Supervisor makes sure everything we are doing is safe,” Clark said. “Just yell stop if you see anything dangerous.”
With each group, Clark chose a student for the position and decked them out in full firefighter gear.
Clark then took hand sanitizer and showed the children how something can be on fire without seeing a flame. The “fuel” or hand sanitizer was burning clear and once it was gone the invisible flame went out.
The next demonstration showed students how oxygen changes the way the flames move. Clark placed a small container of alcohol inside a two-sided glass cylinder. When he lit the “fuel” or alcohol one could see how the flames twirled in the glass like a cyclone. As he moved the two pieces apart the flame would lower.
Clark said the tube acts as a chimney directing the flames in one direction.
As a special treat, the firefighters used their special training smoke, made of water vapors, to create a mock escape situation so the children could practice what to do if they ever need to get out of a smoke-filled room.
Farmer put all of his gear on so they could see and hear what a firefighter would look and sound like amidst the smoke.
“Don’t be scared if you see someone that looks like this,” Clark said. “This is a good guy here to help you.”
The children then crawled through the “smoke-filled” room as Farmer directed them to stay low and go to the safe zone.
State Fire Marshal Tim Bean suggests all Missouri families have two ways out from each room in their home.
“Planning paths out in advance, discussing them with children and practicing on a regular basis will make this become second nature, so everyone will know what to do if a smoke alarm sounds in the middle of the night,” Bean said.
It is recommended that home fire drills be conducted twice a year with one at night and one during the day.
Clark said now that we are starting to see colder weather you should make sure to check your furnaces and fireplaces before using them. Space heaters should also be watched carefully.
“Be careful burning leaves,” Clark said. “Everything is so dry.”
Daylight Savings time is an easy reminder to change the batteries in your smoke detectors. The clocks will “fall back” an hour at 2 a.m. on Nov 5.
According to the National Fire Protection Associate there were more than 365,000 home structure fires resulting in more than 2,600 deaths and 11,000 injuries across the nation in 2015.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at email@example.com