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(FIRE) SAFETY COMES FIRST

South Boston News
Rodney McCargo, left, leads children on a stop, drop and roll drill in the Wee School parking lot.
SoVaNow.com / October 12, 2020

As part of the National Fire Safety Week, preschool children enrolled at Dan River Baptist Wee School learned fire safety techniques on Friday. The South Boston Fire Department with Chief Steve Phillips, firefighters Rodney Crowell, Matthew Lewis, and John Benoun brought a fire engine and a fire rescue vehicle to the school.

At first the children, aged two to four, were quiet and reserved, but it didn’t take long for Crowell to get them engaged by having them count their numbers out loud. One youngster in the group, sporting a firefighter’s jacket, Issac Williams, was called up to help lead the class.

If you are on fire, “you need to stop, drop, cover your face, and roll,” said Crowell.

Future firefighter Issac demonstrated the move first. Then all the students practiced the stop, drop, cover, and roll procedure several times in the parking lot.

Another important lesson learned — when you get out of a burning house, stay out. With two students and teacher as volunteers, Crowell led the students out of a make-believe house, but the teacher was left inside.

“We are outside, but who’s missing?” asked Crowell.

“Miss Tingen,” the students yelled.

“It’s important to never go back into your burning home for anyone or anything such as toys,” said Crowell adding this is what firefighters are trained to do. Crowell went back inside and saved the teacher, Stacy Tingen.

When you are out of the house, call 911 and tell the person on the phone it’s an emergency. Also, only call 911 for emergencies. The students practiced saying the emergency call number several times.

Next they watched firefighter Matthew Lewis suit-up in his safety suit.

“Do not hide or be afraid of a firefighter,” said Lewis. “We are here to find and save you during a house fire.

This provided the opportunity to see what a firefighter looks like wearing all their gear. They may resemble a superhero — not someone to be scared of during an actual fire. Students came up close touching the suit and feeling the thickness of the sleeves.

Next, it was time to see the fire engine. All the kids climbed up one side and walked through the backseat area of the truck checking out all the gadgets and equipment. The seatbelts were very exciting due to the rip cord that released the buckle. The buckle was normal to any car seat buckle, but when the kids pulled the release cord, the buckle popped out really fast. Pulling the rip cord got lots of giggles of excitement.

Lastly, every kid earned a firefighter helmet that were red, black, and even pink. Each kid picked the color helmet of their choice.

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