When it comes to talking about fire safety, the Kinston Fire Dept. used to make trips to schools across Lenoir County to teach children how to prevent fires and how to react if their home catches on fire.
This week is National Fire Prevention Week, and the department is trying to cram a month’s worth of education into just one week by having the students come to them.
The Kinston fire station on Vernon Ave. has been flush with children from elementary schools across Lenoir County and from organizations like Greene Lamp. Wednesday, a little more than 200 pre-k, kindergarten and first grade students visited the station to learn how to stop, drop and roll, operate a fire hose, tour fire trucks and ambulances and talk to firefighters and first responders.
“The idea is to get the most kids in one area and learning about fire safety as possible,” said Kinston Fire Cpt. Will Barss. “Here they actually get to see what our firefighters wear, what they sound like and what our firefighters actually do.”
Barss said he believes getting children thinking about fire safety when they are still young and open to ideas is critical so that should that child ever find themselves in a situation where they would meet a firefighter, they respond without fear.
“You know when you see that firefighter in their gear they can be hard to hear and they can sound kind of scary if you’ve never heard them. We want kinds to remember in their minds if they see a firefighter ‘I know that sound, I should go to that sound,'” Barss said.
Sara Carraway, a teacher at Northeast Elementary School said having her students come to the fire department to get hands-on lessons in fire safety is likely a better way to teach the subject than simply talking about it in the classroom.
“You can tell them you stop, drop and roll when you are on fire, but here they are getting to see the right way to do it,” Carraway said.
National Fire Prevention week continues through Saturday. The Kinston Fire Dept. will host it’s final open house of the week on Friday.
Dustin George can be reached at 252-559-1077 or Dustin.George@Kinston.com.