NEW HAVEN — Be rabbit ready.
That was the theme for Fire Prevention Week in New Haven, to “Be rabbit ready, have two ways out.” According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), rabbits build their burrows with two different ways out so if one entrance is blocked or they sense danger, they always have another way out.
During Fire Prevention Week, which is from Oct. 7-13, volunteers with the New Haven and Mason fire departments are using this theme, as well as other potentially life-saving information to prepare New Haven Elementary students should a fire occur in their home. Assistant Chief of the New Haven Fire Department Manning Roe stated the fire departments hold this special event every year and hold it for every age group of students including preschool, so by the time the students are in sixth grade they’ve experienced this program for a total of eight years and are well versed in fire safety information.
“It really has had a major impact on our fires here,” Roe said about the event. “It really is a good program.”
Some of the information covered in the program involved having a fire escape plan with two ways out, having a safe designated meeting place outside, proper smoke detector operation, who and where to call for help, and of course Stop, Drop, and Roll. Students also learned other information from Sparky the Fire Dog, the official mascot of the NFPA. Roe also mentioned that they send smoke detectors home with each kindergarten student every year as well. The smoke detectors as well as the other informational handouts and materials given to the children were also provided by Sporn and Mountaineer Power Plants, who Roe stated are also Partners in Education with New Haven Elementary.
As well as learning valuable information of what to do in a fire, students were also able to experience what it would be like in a fire by stepping inside the Fire Prevention Trailer. This trailer, which Roe stated was made available by a grant they had received, can be filled with smoke so children can see what being in a fire would be like and how there can be two ways out, such as another door, or possibly a window.
Another reason Roe mentioned why they continue to hold these meetings is to have the children become familiar with the firemen and how they look in their gear. Roe stated younger kids in a fire may hide under their bed or in a closet and strange person bursts in to help, such a fireman in full gear, it can be scary for the children.
According to the NFPA, in 2010 a home fire was reported every 85 seconds and home fires killed one person every three hours, or around seven people a day.
For more information on fire safety, visit www.nfpa.org, or www.sparky.org.