SAN BENITO — Yesterday, about 200 Sullivan Elementary students joyfully sat in the cafeteria as they listened to fire safety tips, learned about each and every piece of the firemen’s rescue gear and watched Sparky the Fire Dog perform the stop, drop and roll technique.
Every October, San Benito firefighters travel from school to school in their eye-catching fire engines to educate students from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade about fire safety and prevention.
San Benito firefighter Jose Luis Perez has been the speaker for the presentations for the past six years. He says for him, the presentations get better and better because he learns how to interact with the kids a little bit more each time.
“The little kids really enjoy the presentations and they soak up the information,” he said. “It’s a great feeling knowing that they’re going home and taking what I taught them and they’re utilizing it,” he said smiling.
Throughout the presentation, Perez repeatedly asked the students questions and quizzed them on what they had learned to make sure they would know what to do in case they ever experience a house fire.
He told the students that they should never hide in their home when there’s a fire and that it’s very dangerous to breathe in smoke.
“No matter how good of a hider you are, fire will always find you,” he told the students. “Don’t hide under the bed, inside the closet or in the bathtub. Get out and stay out.”
Second grade teacher Adelaida Hernandez thought the presentation was wonderful because the firemen taught the students everything step-by-step.
“I like that they just don’t sit there,” she said. “The kids get to interact with the fire department and it looks like they had a lot of fun.”
Before leaving the cafeteria to see the fire engines, every student wanted to say their goodbyes to Sparky the Fire Dog and gave him a hug and a high-five.
• Have a smoke detector in your living room and outside every bedroom. Replace the batteries every six months or when you hear the low battery beeping.
• Replace your smoke detector after every major fire or every 10 years.
• Make, review or update your home fire escape plan with your family
• Make sure you have two unblocked ways out of your house in an emergency
• Have a meeting place outside your home
• Make sure all of your family members are familiar with it and practice it.
Home fire safety tips
• Keep space heaters, clothing irons and hair curlers away from curtains, clothes, blankets and other easily flammable items
• Do not leave burning candles unattended
• Do not use stoves and ovens to heat your home while you sleep or unattended.
• Store gasoline, kerosene, propane and other flammable liquids and gasses out of your home and in a cool, dry place.
• Try to keep clutter to a minimum. The more stuff you have stored inside your home, the more stuff there is to catch fire and possibly trap you inside.
• Do not leave the stove on unattended.
Source: San Benito Fire Department