CORY MCCOY, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lindale Fire Department wants to ensure no child has to end up in a burn ward.
During National Fire Prevention Week the department puts on more than a dozen presentations for elementary school students at Lindale Independent School District.
When Fire Chief Joe Yeakley was badly burned in a 2014 fire, he found himself mentoring a 12-year-old-boy also being treated for burns, former Lindale Fire Chief Jerry Garner said. Garner now acts as the department’s public information officer.
“Any injury we can prevent is vitally important because he knows what a burn survivor has to go through,” Garner said.
The department has put on the presentations for several years, focusing on an entertaining display to help cement the vital information.
Firefighter Aaron Munn said he was searching for a more engaging way to help relay fire safety when he came across a puppet show on YouTube.
Munn worked to integrate the puppet show with the Lindale and Athens fire departments.
Garner said getting the students excited about fire safety pays off. Over the past few years, while working fire rescue, he has had children tell him they remembered what to do because of the presentation.
Not only did the students learn the basics, they also joined Sparky the Fire Dog to demonstrate their proficiency in areas such as the Stop, Drop and Roll technique and how to test doors to ensure the next room is safe.
“We want them to know what to do if there is a fire and be able to present this information to their family,” Garner said.
The students also got to tour the department’s fire trucks and talk to firefighters in full gear, to help show them that they don’t need to be afraid if there is an emergency.
Fire Prevention Week has been observed across the nation during the week of Oct. 9 since 1922.