A hot topic: Students learn about outdoor, fire safety at school | SierraSun.com

A hot topic: Students learn about outdoor, fire safety at school

Renee Shadforth, Sierra Sun

Jacquelyn, a first grader at Glenshire Elementary who was wearing a Brownie uniform, said hugging Smokey Bear was her favorite part of the fire safety presentation she and her classmates heard last week.

She also took away some information she can use on her Girl Scout campouts.

“I learned not to jump over the fire,” she said.

Each year representatives from the Truckee Fire Protection District, California Department of Forestry and Tahoe National Forest visit Truckee classrooms to discuss indoor and outdoor fire safety with kindergarten through third graders.

“The reason we come is to get the kids involved early with fire safety,” said Linda M. Brown, a fire prevention technician with Tahoe National Forest.

Brown discussed outdoor fire safety to Mrs. Johnson, Mrs. Fournier and Mrs. Bockuis’ first graders. She told the students that most of the wildfires in the Truckee area were caused because people didn’t completely put out their campfires.

“Make sure an adult puts water on the fire and stirs dirt into the ashes with a shovel,” she told the class. “Then, tell them to be sure to put their hand over the fire and make sure there’s no heat.”

Gene Welch, public safety and information officer for Truckee Fire, talked about indoor fire safety.

He discussed the importance of a home escape plan and testing the smoke alarm once each month.

“It’s a good idea to close your bedroom door at night,” Welch told the class. “It protects you from smoke and gives you some time to escape.”

The speakers hoped the children would take at least some of what they learned home with them.

“That’s one of our goals: for the children to reach the parents,” Welch said.

Dean Levonian, from the California Department of Forestry, said the classroom presentations are working.

“By the time we’re hitting the second and third graders, they know a lot of this,” he said.

After the presentations, students drew a fire safety message on a piece of paper.

One drawing from each grade level at Glenshire and Truckee elementary schools will be enlarged and displayed on community roads to remind people about fire safety.

Fire safety: What parents should know

Sit down with your children and discuss the following issues:

Indoor safety

— Have a home escape plan and meeting place. Know two ways out of the house and two ways out of each bedroom.

— If rooms are on the second floor, have an escape ladder at each window and practice how to use it.

— Children should know how to open their bedroom windows.

— Have a smoke alarm and test it once each month.

— Children should close their bedroom doors at night.

Outdoor safety

— Only adults should build a campfire. Children should only build fires under the supervision of an adult.

— Don’t allow children to get too close to the campfire.

— Children shouldn’t run or play around a campfire.

— Teach children how to stop, drop and roll properly. They should keep rolling until the fire is completely out on their clothing and cover their face.

— Prevent forest fires: Water down ashes and stir dirt in with the fire remains until it’s cool.