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School fire safety program expands

Renee Shadforth
Sierra Sun

More than 600 Truckee children went home a little smarter about fire safety last week.

Fire personnel visited students at Truckee and Glenshire elementary schools for their annual fire safety discussion with kindergarten through third graders. People from the Truckee Fire Protection District, California Department of Forestry and Tahoe National Forest were on hand to teach the students about indoor and outdoor fire safety, but the highlight of the was a visit from Smokey Bear.

“Smokey is the ambassador,” said Jeff McCaskill of the Tahoe National Forest Fire Prevention Office. “He’s the No. 1 most recognized figure when it comes to fire safety. His message has been to never play with matches or lighters, and kids can follow that.”

This year, in addition to indoor and outdoor fire safety tips, students received information and a coloring book from the San Francisco Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.

The burn foundation provided a grant to the Truckee fire safety program as part of its Firefighter in Safety Education program.

The program started in San Francisco, and the burn foundation wanted to use Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to reach out to other fire departments, said Jessica Marshall, prevention manager with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation.

“We’re really excited to get the program into Truckee,” she said. “A rural area is sometimes difficult to reach.”

McCaskill said he’s grateful for the extra funds and materials from the burn foundation. In the end, he said he hopes the coloring books, lecture and visit from Smokey will encourage students to go home and talk their parents about fire safety.

“It’s good information to talk about these certain things that don’t get discussed at home,” McCaskill said. “It’s a life-saving thing we do at the schools.”


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