Learning how to be safe if fire happens
Doug Ramsay photo
Snohomish Fire District 4 firefighter Rachel Lee leads the students of Kelly Smiley’s kindergarten class around the room as they practice crawling out of a fire emergency at Riverview Elementary near Snohomish on Tuesday, Oct. 10. In a fire, smoke and poisonous gases form. By staying low to the floor, you will breathe less smoke while escaping. The firefighters visited schools for Fire Prevention Week, which falls on the week of Oct. 9 which is Fire Prevention Day in the United States and Canada.
SNOHOMISH — Firefighter Nathan Flath opened all the hatches of Engine 41 last week ready for action.
But he could take his time. The kids were already mesmerized.
Snohomish firefighters visited schools all last week to do show-and-tell presentations of their rigs and gear.
At Riverview Elementary last Tuesday, he explained how the most intense nozzle shoots 250 gallons of water a minute, and how a fire engine carries upwards of 10 whole bathtubs of water onboard. (For fastidious readers, that's 750 gallons.)
The newest fire hose nozzles glow in the dark, he showed. "What!" a student in Cami Olivet's second grade class exclaimed. Austin Anguiano, 7, found that remarkable.
Hands sprang up with questions. How tall can the ladders get? What if there are bees? What if the firetruck goes on fire?
Theo Merritt, 7, said he didn't know the firefighters carry bee spray in the truck.
Kinsley Probst, 7, thought it was cool firetrucks have a big tub of water inside.
Oliver Clark, 7, said it's remarkable they can shoot over 100 gallons of water.
And what if the firetruck did go on fire? It's an extreme rarity but "that's why we go in groups," Flath said. They'd put it out using a second firetruck.
Meanwhile, the kindergarteners of Kelly Smiley's class learned with firefighter-paramedic Rachel Lee to stop, drop and roll, to crawl in smoke, to not open doors with hot doorknobs and to make sure your family has a meeting place if there is a fire.
If you can’t get out of a window, wave a blanket or sheet out of the window and wait for the ladder. Arriving firefighters check out all the sides of a burning building to see if anyone needs rescue, firefighter-paramedic Gabe Harrington said.
This year’s emphasis for classes has been safety in the kitchen as well as doing emergency drills in the home, Harrington said, to know where to meet after getting out of the house.
Safety in the kitchen means being careful around stovetops and no playing in the kitchen while parents are cooking, the firefighters said.
The kindergarten class also wrote a song for the visiting firefighters to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus,” which went:
“If there is a fire,
Call 911, 911, 911
If there is a fire,
And ask for help.”
Michael Whitney photo
Firefighter Nathan Flath displays Engine 41 to kids at Riverview Elementary last week.
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