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Two-Year-Old Uses Fire Safety Lesson

By Staff | Oct 7, 2009

Fire Prevention Week and similar programs are used throughout schools, day care facilities, and community camp programs yearly.

Most of people receive the safety pamphlets, stickers, pencils, coloring pages, etc. from such programs every year without thinking much more about them. Many times programs like these-although necessary-are somewhat discarded and come and go without much notice.

But last year a young boy and his family had the fire safety program to thank for safely escaping their home engulfed in flames. Of course thanks also go to the Pine Grove and Jacksonburg fire departments for responding to the incident.

Owen Brown attended a play group organized by Marsha Croasmun at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families on state Route 7 in New Martinsville. During their Fall Into Safety program members of the New Martinsville Fire Department met with the children. They explained and acted out the stop, drop, and roll technique, and played and discussed a fire safety video. The children also got to see a firetruck, go through the mobile safety house, and see what a fireman looks like in his uniform.

On Nov. 3 the Brown’s Pine Grove home caught fire. The fire started in the laundry room-a room that the family had to go through to get out. Two-year-old Owen and his parents, Miranda and Zach Brown, safely got out and the house was saved.

Owen’s mother thanked Marsha Croasmun for the Fall Into Safety program, noting her son was not afraid during the incident because of what he learned from the fire department’s program. “Owen stayed calm and didn’t cry,” said Miranda. “He told us to cover our mouths and check the door knobs with the back of our hands, and together we were able to get out safely.”

She also commented that her son wasn’t afraid when a fireman came over to him because he knew the masked stranger was there to help him. “And even after we were out of the house and fine, Owen told us to stop, drop, and roll to be safe,” noted his mother.

“You do these sort of programs year after year and inevitably it just becomes something you do out of routine,” said Croasmun. “But when you get a phone call like that you realize that this program helps save lives. If a routine program like this can save one life, then I will see to it that it runs for 20 years.”

This story of a house fire has a rather happy ending, but too often such stories end in tragedy. School and community programs should not be taken for granted. Sit with children and discuss what they learned, and actually make and practice the safety exit plan your kids talk about. It goes without saying that these small practices actually can save your life. A special thank you goes to local officials and firefighters who daily prepare and risk themselves for the community’s safety.

This year’s Fall Into Safety program is held at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families Oct. 14 and 15 from 10:45-11:45 a.m. The Wednesday program is open to all preschoolers. For information call Marsha Croasmun at 304-455-2468.