Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 4, 2012

Fire safety is the lesson for kids

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — It’s that time of year when fire safety and fire prevention get a little extra attention thanks to a national push that includes Pauls Valley firefighters.

Coming up in a matter of days is the official Fire Prevention Week as local fire officials will grab informational materials and their stuff for some special presentations to the younger kids in PV area schools.

The campaign is actually next week as Pauls Valley Fire Chief Mark Norman says he and his firefighters will again join this national campaign meant to teach kids more about the dangers of fire and ways it can be prevented.

During three days next week PV firefighters will again make three area schools the place to give their instruction to children up through the third grade

Stops are planned at Jefferson Early Learning Center (Oct. 8), Jackson Elementary School (Oct. 10) and Whitebead School (Oct. 12) just west of PV.

“We’ll give the kids bags with fire prevention information inside,” Norman said, adding the bags will include things like coloring books, crayons and school items.

“We have different things for the different ages,” he said. “There will be a little more in-depth information for the older kids.”

Another big hit each year is a video shown to kids that’s both entertaining and informative on fire prevention tips.

“They learn about crawling on the floor to get away from the smoke, not to check a door handle to see if it’s hot, to have a meeting place outside, things like that,” he said.

“We also bring in our bunkers and air packs, show them what it looks like. Some of the kids want to put it on and see how heavy it is.”

Fire Prevention Week comes each year in early October.

The week observes the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which killed hundreds and destroyed more than 3 square miles in Chicago, Ill., back in 1871.

The first official Fire Prevention Week came in 1920, and continues to be observed annually as a way to keep the public informed about the importance of fire prevention.

Norman, who has been a Pauls Valley firefighter for nearly two decades, said these presentations have shown him that kids are listening and open to learning about fire safety.

“They learn it quick. Some of these older kids have seen us before so they really have the fire prevention stuff down,” Norman said. “That’s important. I believe that’s cut down on fires with these kids.

“I think they’re understanding how dangerous it is,” he said about fires.