HELENA — It’s the 100th anniversary of Fire Prevention Week, a tradition that educates the public about how to keep themselves safe from home fires.
This year’s Fire Prevention Week theme is “Fire won’t wait. Plan your escape.” The Helena Fire Department is educating elementary school children on the steps they can take to keep themselves safe during the event of a house fire.
The program brings second and third graders to the station to teach them about escape plans, fire alarms, and best practices to get help and avoid fires and smoke. The kids got the opportunity to watch a safety video, hear from real-life firefighters, check out the fire station, and practice their best stop-drop-and-roll.
“Fire safety should be on everybody's mind and teaching it to everybody across the whole community. But this gives us an opportunity to hit a direct group of people that we feel, you know, will not only share that with their siblings but also with their parents. And they're excited about it,” says Helena Fire Department Fire Marshal, Lou Antonick.
The kids visiting the firehouse told MTN about what they learned and how much fun they had.
“I knew it was oxygen. But I didn't exactly know about everything else, about like fuel and heat. So, it was just really fun,” says 3rd grader, Lola Honzel.
“That smoke rised. And that you should crawl. I thought in every situation you should just stop, drop, and roll,” says 2nd grader, Clark Rediske.
The Helena Fire Department also wants to encourage all residents to be prepared for possible home fires and practice an escape plan complete with a meeting place. They also encourage everyone to have their smoke alarms properly installed.
“And our hope is that when the kids come home and they're talking about it, the parents, grandparents, whoever will pick it up and, you know, will practice that stuff with their kids. And show them that they're very interested in that,” says Antonick.