Learning about fire fighting

Lake George Fire Protection District volunteer fire fighter Chad Timinskis shows fifth grader Thea Kirkland the force of a fire hose while Acianna Henderson watches from a safe distance. (Photo by Marianne Mogon/The Flume)

Lake George Fire Protection District conducted a day-long presentation on fire safety to the students of the Lake George Charter School, Oct. 15.

Susan Bernstetter, fire chief of LGFPD, conducted the program, assisted by volunteer members Chad Timinskis, John Mogon, Tom Hopkins, and Tristin Weaver, Jr.

Firefighters and members of the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Firefighters who participated included Charles Newman, Sailend Kong, Dexter Luedecke, Jake Ellsworth, and, of course, Smokey Bear.

The program was broken in eight segments according to grade levels. Students were invited to discuss what to do in the case of a house fire, how to stop, drop; and roll if they were ever to be caught on fire, about smoke alarms, and what to do when the firemen arrive at a fire.

The firefighters demonstrated what they would sound like and look like at a fire scene, and the children were able to understand to not be afraid of them. The children were also given the opportunity to put on firefighter helmets, boots and jackets.

Fifth through eighth graders were given an opportunity to use a firehose and had a special demonstration by the USFS firefighters.

In the 1950s, Art Linkletter was famous for coining the phrase, “Kids say the darndest things,” and he would have been amused when Chief Bernstetter asked the same question she had asked all the groups.

“Does anyone play with matches?” Everyone would answer with a resounding “no,” and the discussion would continue. She posed the same question to the group of four-year-old preschoolers and they all responded, “Yes, we love it.”

As minor shock waves went through the adults in the room, one little girl said, “You know, you take one card and match it and then do another.” A sigh of relief went through the room and Chief Bernstetter gathered herself realizing they meant the game of matching objects. After a brief release of laughter, Bernstetter continued the presentation.

At each end of each session, the teachers were given plastic fire helmets and bags of information and other items for the children to take home and share with their parents.

In the packet was a letter from Bernstetter which included information that LGFPD had partnered with the Red Cross and Kidde Smoke Alarms to provide and install smoke alarms at each child’s home at no cost or they can be sent home to be installed by the parents.

She also encouraged families to practice fire drills at home and arrange for a predetermined meeting place for everyone to go to in case of a fire. She also invited families to contact the department for a tour.

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