As October comes to an end, so does the Madison Fire Department's month-long tour of Madison-area schools.
Each year, fire departments across the country participate in Fire Prevention Week to commemorate the anniversary of the Chicago and Peshtigo Fires (which took place October 8, 1871).
Demand for Fire Safety education in Madison is high, keeping our Fire Prevention Officers and neighborhood firefighters extra busy throughout the month.
MFD paid visits to most elementary schools, including parochial schools, in the city of Madison and the village of Shorewood, reaching an estimated 7,000 kids in grades K-3.
Students learned important safety tips and practical advice for preventing fire-related incidents and injury.
"Hear the Beep Where You Sleep"
This year's Fire Prevention Week motto, "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep," reminds all families that working smoke detectors should be placed throughout the home-- in all bedrooms, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement.
Sparky the Fire Dog kicks off the MFD Fire Safety School Tour stop by teaching the ABCs of fire safety.
Community Education Officer Bernadette Galvez quizzes kids on what to do (and what not to do) if they encounter dangerous materials, such as matches and lighters. Children are also reminded that when they see other kids playing with fire, they need to leave the area and tell an adult.
Next, students learn a little bit about fire science. Smoke rises toward the ceiling, so staying low to the ground and crawling to safety is the way to go!
Galvez brings with her a wall cutout from an actual house fire to illustrate the point. This particular house fire melted away the smoke detector that had been installed.
"What Comes Next?"
Now it's the firefighters' turn!
When our crews suit up, they don't quite look or sound the same anymore. It's important for children to know what firefighters look like when they respond to a fire, otherwise they may be afraid and try to hide.
At each stop on the MFD Fire Safety School Tour, firefighters engage students in a game called "What Comes Next?" Kids play along to tell the firefighters how, exactly, to get suited up-- from boots to the self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA).
Ready, Set, Go!
Finally, the festivities are capped off with a small obstacle course.
Students wait with anticipation on their hands and knees until a sounding smoke alarm sends them off!
Scurrying through a tunnel of "smoke" made of black fabric, they make their way to a door or window as directed by the firefighter at the end of the tunnel.
Before opening the door, they remember to touch the door with the back of heir hand to make sure it's not hot. Then they safely exit, closing the door behind them.
Meanwhile, some students team up to open the window and safely climb to the other side.
All students meet at a pre-determined safe meeting place, pictured here with Prevention Officer Lori Wirth. MFD brings a small tree to illustrate that a tree standing a safe distance away from a burning building can be a good marker for a meeting place. Trees are immobile and easy for everybody to find.
Once everybody has arrived to the safe meeting place, students return to their classrooms-- but not before thanking their friendly neighborhood firefighters with high-fives, handshakes, and applause!
The Madison Fire Department proudly serves to educate our youth about the dangers of fire through direct outreach such as the MFD Fire Safety School Tour.
Investing in fun, interactive education today is one step toward a safer tomorrow.
Learn more about our scheduling a school visit on our Children Fire Safety Presentations page!