The Mt. Pleasant Fire Station was alive with activity Wednesday night as students who heard firefighters speak in their classrooms earlier in the week for Fire Safety Week witnessed firetrucks firsthand, learned how to navigate a smoky situation and practiced their “stop, drop and roll.”
The annual Fire Department open house recognizes Fire Safety Week, which falls on the second week of October each year and is a chance to reinforce what students learn in the classroom. Mt. Pleasant firefighters visited classrooms on Monday and Tuesday from about 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day, educating them on what number to call if there is a fire, how to get out and what to do if they can’t, the dangers of lighters, matches and the importance of smoke detectors.
“It has paid off,” firefighter Ben Calhoun said. “Kids come up to me and remember what we told them. It soaks in really well.”
Calhoun said the open house is also a chance to thank taxpayers and give them a chance to see what their tax dollars have helped purchase. While there was no new equipment to show at the fire station this year, Calhoun was displaying pictures of a new heavy rescue truck that is being assembled for the department and is expected in March 2019.
The fire department did unveil a new attraction for the kids Wednesday night, however — a cutout of a firetruck with a place for your face for a picture-perfect moment. Calhoun, who built the frame for the firetruck, said they just like adding something new every year.
Last year, the department unveiled Sparky the dog, whom kids greeted at the open house like a lost friend.
“The Mt. Pleasant Fire Department is the coolest around,” Sparky said to The News.
Firefighter Kent Lee said the night is important for the community because it teaches kids general fire safety. More importantly, it teaches them if they are in a building that catches on fire to not hide so the firefighters can easily find them.
The Fire Safety Week open house brings in about 400 to 500 people each year, Lee said.
For parents, the department was handing out “tot finder” stickers, reflective stickers to place in the windows of their kids’ bedrooms so firefighters can easily locate a child’s bedroom in the case of a fire.
Andrew McCoid, lifting his children Frey and Zoen in and out of the front seat of the firetruck, said he brings them to teach them what firefighters look like and give them a chance to try on the firefighter gear, so they won’t be afraid in the instance of a real fire.
“Fire safety is a big thing,” Catie Scott said, mom to almost five-year-old Anderson Scott. “Exposing them to firefighters and making sure they know they’re good, safe people here to help,” she said as Anderson ran off to the bouncy house where he was taught by a firefighter how to stop, drop and roll.
“Kids need to know not to be scared of firefighters and seeing them in the gear makes them not as scary,” Rachel Manfredi said.