As part of National Fire Prevention Week, students from Fredericktown Elementary School took a trip to the Fredericktown Fire Department to learn about safety from real firefighters.
When students arrived, they were taken to three stations. Firefighter Kyle Clark taught them all about the fire truck and the equipment. He showed them the oxygen tanks, axes and more.
Firefighter Bobby Francis, had arguably the most fun job of the day, letting the kids play water. FFD built a special cutout of a house, featuring six windows with wooden flames in them. When hit just right with the water hose the wooden flames will fold down and the "fire" will be extinguished. This station allowed the kids to get a hands-on experience and have a little fun.
Fire Chief John Clark brought a special visitor for the kids, "Stanley" the fire dog. Being able to pet the large, furry white dog made the day much more fun for the kids and gave the water station a little competition for the highlight of the day.
"Stanley" showed the students how to stop, drop and roll while Chief Clark talked about what to do if you hear a smoke alarm going off. Clark said it is important to have a plan and get out of the house right away. He told them to get yourself and your family out of the house and not to worry about pets.
As the students learned about fire safety, it is also important for the adults in the community to freshen up on the topic.
"Now is the time to educate everyone, not just the students that came through the fire house," Clark said. "It is important for everyone to make a plan, practice the plan, check all of the smoke detectors in your home. Families can have as little as two minutes to get out of the home from the time they hear the smoke detectors."
Chief Clark said even though it may only be two minutes, those are two more minutes than you would have if the smoke detectors are not working properly.
"It is important, especially for families with children, to choose a safe spot outside the house to meet," Chief Clark said. "As soon as that alarm goes off ,everyone in the house needs to go to that spot. It is important to leave all your stuff and even pets behind. In my house, it goes kids, wife, myself and then 'Stanley.' If 'Stanley' isn't following me then he will have to wait until the firefighters arrive."
Clark said, nobody likes to talk about these situations. He said nobody wants to think about bad things happening such as a fire but it is important to be prepared.
"I would also like to take this time to remind citizens that fire department jurisdictions do not follow county/city lines but rather have their own lines," Chief Clark said. "While you may live outside of city limits, you may be within the Fredericktown Fire Department jurisdiction."
Chief Clark said, if you live in the county and are covered by the Fredericktown Fire Department you need a fire tag. He said if you live inside city limits, you pay for the tag in your city taxes. Fire tags are $40 per year, and if you have a fire and do not have a tag, it is a minimum charge of $625.
"More important than the tag is you need to know who covers you for your insurance," Clark said. "We want you to buy a fire tag yes, if not we are going to bill your insurance, but you need to know that you are covered by us so your insurance cost is better."
Clark said the Fredericktown Fire Department has an ISO rating of 4.
"Why is that important," Clark asked. "If you live in our district, your insurance rating is 4, the lower the better. When we went from a 6 to a 4, several years ago, insurance rates dropped roughly 15 percent."
Clark said FFD coverage includes north on Hwy OO to Coppermines Road, 72 East to J Hwy, 72 West to Black River Electric Cooperative and the Beaver Valley Golf Course, north Hwy 67 to H Hwy and south Hwy 67 just before E Hwy. He said Millcreek is not covered by FFD.
If you are unsure about who you are covered by, call the Fredericktown Fire Department or John Clark at 573-944-2223.
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org