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October 04 09:21 AM

Firefighters take fire safety to schools

By KERRY M. KIRSPEL Inquisitor News

Elementary school children in Bossier City are learning how to be safe in the event of a fire and are taking those lessons home to their families.

Each year in October, the Bossier City Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau visits schools throughout the city to teach the children about fire prevention and safety using a multimedia presentation that includes a video program and a puppet show featuring Freddie the Fire Truck and Sparky the Fire Dog.

The program is presented each October in conjunction with National Fire Prevention Week, which runs Oct. 6-12 this year.

The department kicked off this year’s program at Sun City Elementary School.

Through a video presentation, the children learned things to do and not to do in the event of a fire, such as don’t go back into a burning building to retrieve personal items and to “stop, drop and roll” if their clothes should catch on fire.

Bossier Schools Superintendent D.C. Machen, who was present at the kick-off presentation, said of the program, “It’s fantastic that the fire department comes to educate our young boys and girls about fire safety. They come and motivate them with the program and get them interested, and then hopefully they’ll take home all the information and share it with their parents and their siblings.”

Jerry Nuckolls, chief of fire prevention for BCFD, said, “We want to teach them young. If they happen to run across matches and lighters, they won’t pick them up. They’ll revert back to what they remember in the video.

“It’s kind of repetitive; it’s the same video every year. It teaches them not to play with matches and lighters and how to get out of a house in the event of a fire. They need to have a place to go outside, a meeting area.”

What do children seem to respond to the most? “They really like Freddie (the Fire Truck).

Hopefully, they can build on that,” Nuckolls said.

He said that children are able to retain the lessons they have learned. He related an incident that took place about six months ago in Golden Meadows.

A little girl was riding her bicycle, and a neighbor across the street, who was a smoker, threw a cigarette butt into a trash can which ignited the refuse inside.

“She alerted her mother, and they ran across the street and helped the guy get the fire put out with no damage to the house,” Nuckolls said.

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