Fire Prevention Week drills provide realistic experience and lessons
USAG HUMPHREYS — Students at Humphreys Central Elementary School had a bit more realism during their recent fire drill when the Humphreys Fire Department staged a structure drill as part of Fire Prevention Week here.
To kick off the drills the firefighters placed a smoke generator in a hallway and within minutes the corridor was filled with dense-gray smoke which made it near- impossible to see.
The alarm sounded and the students filed out of the school under their teachers’ watch. Soon several fire engines rolled up to the school. Firefighters quickly payed out their hoses, connected them to stand pipes and pulled them into the smoky hallway.
Slowly, deliberately the firefighters worked their way down the hallway to locate the source of the smoke, their helmet lights the only part of them visible in the dense smoke. They searched each classroom and finally found the source of the smoke.
Satisfied that they’d achieved their objectives the firefighters ended the drill, turned off the smoke generator and opened the doors to clear the hallways.
Following the drill the Fire Department’s Prevention Chief Mark Wilson explained the purpose of the drills.
“The structure drill and the fire drill go hand in hand; if there’s a fire alarm activation we definitely want the kids to know what to do and how to get out of the building safely. At the same time, they get to see the firefighters responding to the facility to see what they actually do,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the drills also provided a training opportunity for the firefighters.
“Usually we do this during the summertime when school isn’t in (session) so now they get to train and work around the students, it’s more realistic,” Wilson said.
When the fire and structural drill was over, classes rotated through several teaching stations the fire department set up in a parking lot next to the elementary school.
The stations included the Fire Safety Trailer complete with a kitchen and bedroom to teach the students about fire safety and fire hazards they can encounter in their homes.
Near the trailer was the Fire Safety bouncy house which has fire safety messages and illustrations on the walls. Wilson said it and the trailer help to educate the students while they’re having fun.
The students learn that they should have two ways out of a house in case of a fire, they also learn what to do when the smoke alarm goes off, he said.
The final teaching station is one of the department’s fire trucks. Students can don firefighting gear, try some of the firefighting equipment, talk with the firefighters and sit in the truck,
Wilson said he hopes the students remember the important messages his team conveyed—know what to do in a fire, have two ways out and don’t panic.
“And hopefully they take the word back to their parents, that helps us spread it more,” he said.