Who doesn't remember Fire Prevention Week from grade school? The annual tradition dating back to 1911 has long included visit by firefighters to schools to reinforce fire safety lessons learned in classrooms, making a special day in the first years of school.
But it also helps lock in important safety tips in studnets' minds—this year, that duty fell to Lt. Ryan Valentino, Sage Kaneshige and Chris Hagen, of the Mt. Bethel Volunteer Fire Company, and Jimmy DiVizio, who operated the Washington Valley Vol. Fire Co. ladder truck, as the crew visited all four Warren grade schools Thursday.
But before the kids got to see the ladder extend to a height "bigger than a dinosaur," as one put it, Valentino reminded them of safety lessons.
"If you're at home or at school and a fire breaks out, you should know two ways to get out," he told them.
Valentino also encouraged the students to talk to their parents to make sure they had viable exit strategies in case of a fire, knew their home addresses in case of an emergency, and knew what number to dial in the event of a fire.
The firefighters demonstrated the proper way to "stop, drop and roll," as well as how a firefighter in full gear may come crawling towards them during a fire (looking and sounding a bit like Darth Vader, valentino noted).
"We're all your friends and neighbors," Valentino said. "I went to school in Warren...and it's important for you to know we're here to help you if there's a fire."
Today's presentations went smoothly, although the demonstration at Mt. Horeb School was cut a little short—fire call came in that required the firefighters to add realism to the event.
"The kids enjoyed—and as long as we got the fire safety information to them, it's good," Valentino said.