First-Graders Get Firsthand Lesson In Fire Prevention
Posted: October 12, 2012
HARRISONBURG — First-grader Azari Frias’ eyes lit up as Blazer the Fire Dog zoomed into the Valley Mall Thursday morning to share fire safety lessons with about 100 students from Waterman Elementary School.
She learned a lot, Azari said, from the robotic dog during the field trip.
“You’re not allowed to play with dangerous stuff … matches, lighters and fire,” she pointed out.
After Blazer’s presentation, the children looked through a variety of displays, which are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Saturday as part of Fire Prevention Week.
One display, named for Noah Terschueren, encourages people to create escape plans for their homes in case a fire breaks out. A November 2005 house fire on Hillcrest Drive in Harrisonburg claimed 7-year-old Noah’s life.
Another display demonstrated window safety. The display is in honor of Jude Blackburn, a 2-year-old boy who died in July 2009 after he fell from a third-floor window on Meadowlark Drive in Harrisonburg. The display shows a variety of measures homeowners can put in place to help prevent a similar tragedy.
Lt. Wanda Willis of the Harrisonburg Fire Department said teaching fire safety to children helps them remember as they get older what steps to take, especially about preparing escape routes.
“If they can grasp the concepts at an early age, they will know what to do,” said Willis, fire prevention specialist. “Some kids don’t know what to do if their house is on fire. They get scared.”
Waterman first-grade teacher Lori Copley, who has been taking her classes to the fire prevention display for years, said the lessons have a lasting impact on the students.
“They’ll talk about this all year,” said Copley, who has been teaching at the school for 30 years. “Something will come up and they will remember this and talk about it.”
Parent Donna Crumpton attended the field trip with her daughter, Rylee Stroop, 6. She said it was a valuable lesson for her daughter.
“I loved the one-on-one interaction with the firefighters,” she said. “She was able to see what happens when you’re not careful with stuff.”
Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or firstname.lastname@example.org