For Immediate Release
Monday, May 1, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
*Joint Release* Stoneham Firefighters Bring Fire Safety House to Elementary Schools
STONEHAM — Fire Chief Matthew Grafton and Stoneham Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Les Olson are pleased to announce that the Stoneham Fire Department brought the state’s Fire Safety House to elementary schools last week for interactive demonstrations and lessons.
From April 25-28, Stoneham firefighters visited the town’s elementary schools to provide real-life training to students as part of the department’s Student Awareness of Fire Education (S.A.F.E.) grant program.
Run through the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services, the S.A.F.E. grant allows fire departments to pair trained firefighter-educators with classroom teachers to conduct fire safety education in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.
Every year, the Stoneham Fire Department uses its S.A.F.E. grant to put on a training in the schools, and this year, expanded the program to bring the safety house to elementary school children in the spring.
“We’d like to thank the Stoneham Fire Department for taking the time to come to our elementary schools to provide invaluable training to our students,” Superintendent Olson said. “Firefighters are the best teachers we can offer to our students when it comes to fire safety.”
During the training, firefighters first spoke with children in grades one through four, where they learned the “Get Low and Go” motto, which teaches children how to get out of a smoke-filled building. Because smoke and hot air rise, staying low to the ground will help people breathe better, see better and stay cool as they exit a structure. Firefighters also reinforced the “Stop, Drop and Roll” procedure, and showed students the different parts of firefighting gear.
Stoneham firefighters then led students to the safety house, which features a living room, kitchen and bedroom, that is used as an educational tool for firefighters to teach fire prevention and fire survival. The living room has an electric fireplace, the kitchen has a stove, sink and cabinets, and a second-floor bedroom is equipped with a smoke detector and sliding door that opens onto a porch with an escape ladder.
In the control room of the safety house, firefighters used a fog machine to mimic “smoke”– a sign of a fire in the home. Children are then instructed to “Get Low and Go” and exit to safety. Along the way, firefighters instructed the children to check the bedroom door for heat with the back of their hand. If the door felt warm, they used the fire escape ladder to get to safety.
The fire safety house training falls in line with the department’s strategy for teaching fire safety to students. When conducting fire drills at schools, instead of practicing the same escape strategy, the Stoneham Fire Department now blocks different exits of the buildings to mix things up and help children think on their feet.
“We want to teach them real-life skills where things don’t always go as planned, so we throw monkey wrenches into the mix in the form of blocked exits to see how they respond,” Chief Grafton said. “Rather than repeat the same thing every year, we want students to think on their toes to be aware of hazards and to make decisions when something happens. The same goes with the fire safety house. We’re able to create situations where anything can happen, which reminds students to always have a plan b and be aware of their surroundings.”