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NMVFD Teaches Kids How To Prevent Fires

By Staff | Oct 15, 2008

A tour of a fire truck, given here by Fireman Danny Wright Jr., is always a big hit with elementary school students.

The New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department took part in National Fire Prevention Week Oct. 5-11 by presenting a multi-dimensional program to students in Kindergarten through Second Grade at New Martinsville School.

The firefighters are continuing the awareness program throughout the month by talking to about 200 students at the Wetzel County Center for Children and Families this week and then to three or four individual groups at their Ohio Street Station. They will also be part of the Chili-Fest on Main Street Oct. 25 as the fire safety house and Fire Fighter Jake will be outside of Community Resources, Inc., that day.

During their time at NMS, students were shown special videos; taught that firefighters are their friends; practiced how to stop, drop, and roll; given a tour of a fire truck; went through the fire safety house; and given awareness literature.

Students in Kindergarten and First Grade got extra special treatment as part of the S.A.F.E. Home Child Education Project. Each Kindergarten student received a free smoke alarm to teach the importance of smoke alarms and fire safety practices. Over the last seven years, this program has allowed the NMVFD to place 714 smoke alarms in the homes of young children.

“This year we will place another 120 smoke alarms in the homes, and the child’s smoke alarm gift is a constant reminder to the child to follow the fire safety practices taught to them,” said Joe Smith, deputy fire chief and fire prevention program coordinator.

As a follow up to the annual Kindergarten gift, First Grade students received a new battery to replace the old one in the alarm the students received last year. “These children are learning ‘hands-on’ that their smoke alarm will not warn them of a fire if the alarm is not in working condition,” said Smith.

The NMVFD reminds everyone to change the battery in smoke alarms as they change the clock on Nov. 2.

While these programs through First Alert and Energizer are targeted at the school children, anybody may request an alarm or battery from the NMVFD if they need one.

“If we save at least one life, we’ve done our job. That makes us proud,” said Assistant Prevention Program Coordinator Eric Smith.

National statistics show that fire departments responded to 1.6 million fires in 2007, the lowest number since 2004. However, the number of fire deaths and injuries increased. Home fire deaths accounted for more than eight in 10 of all fire deaths.