Firefighters ‘are here to help us’

Through fun and laughter, students learn about fire prevention

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — Sparky is a rock star. But inside the L.J. Bell Elementary School auditorium, the bigger-than-life furry dog and fire prevention expert had some competition.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Lt. Wayne Covington helps a student get into oversized firefighting gear on stage at L.J. Bell Elementary School.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Lt. Wayne Covington helps a student get into oversized firefighting gear on stage at L.J. Bell Elementary School.

That’s because Josh Haley, a firefighter with the Rockingham Fire Department, once roamed the same halls as the kids present at Wednesday’s presentation. Principal Yvonne Gilmer said Haley was the epitome of what L.J. Bell, as a Leader in Me leadership development school, wanted to produce.

Haley, Gilmer said, and the other firefighters who staged the 40-minute show are “very, very important people. These guys are here to help us.”

“They’re gonna grow up and be just like you,” Gilmer told him. “Show them what a leader looks like.”

Haley, along with Lt. Wayne Covington, engineer Ed Fairfield, fireman Joseph Cohoon and administrative assistant Kristy Player took the students through a series of steps that could save their lives in the event of an emergency.

Cohoon played the role of master of ceremonies and taught the kids — and in some cases reminded them — to change the batteries in the smoke detectors at home each time the clocks spring forward or fall back. The next such date is Nov. 2. He also said smoke detectors should be place in the kitchen and bedrooms of every house, but that’s not all.

“You can have one anywhere,” Cohoon said.

Cohoon and Covington took the students through Stop, Drop and Roll — with an on-stage demonstration by selected students — and instructed children on what to do, and not to do, in the event of a fire.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Sparky was a hit.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Sparky was a hit.

If a fire breaks out, or smoke is detected while a student is in bed, Cohoon told the students not to hide under the bed or in a closet. Find a window or door, he said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com L.J. Bell Elementary School Principal Yvonne Gilmer shows firefighter Josh Haley as an example of the type of leader the school wants to produce.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
L.J. Bell Elementary School Principal Yvonne Gilmer shows firefighter Josh Haley as an example of the type of leader the school wants to produce.

“If you ever can’t get out, that’s where you need to stay and we’ll come looking for you,” Cohoon assured them.

Cohoon and Haley taught the students the proper way to check if it’s safe to open a door — by placing the back of one’s hand to the door, from top to bottom, to see if it’s hot. If it is hot, “don’t open that door,’ Cohoon said.

Every family should have a meeting spot — and not the front porch, which is fine for summer evenings but not in an emergency. The meeting spot should be away from the house, perhaps at the roadside mailbox or at a neighbor’s house.

Then, Cohoon said, call 911.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Students demonstrate how to crawl low to the ground to escape a burning building.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Students demonstrate how to crawl low to the ground to escape a burning building.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

 

Filed in: Education, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Public safety

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