Fire safety week strikes Ames

Laurie Wiedenhoff

As part of National Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 4-10, the Ames Fire Department will be presenting fire safety programs to Ames elementary schools and daycare centers.

“We always highlight presentations to local schools [during fire prevention] week,” said Ames Deputy Fire Chief Phil Harris.

Harris said firemen usually go to the schools and daycares in uniform and take a fire engine or ladder truck, depending on what vehicles are available at the fire station at the times of the presentations.

“The fire department works very closely with the schools,” said Glenn Connor, principal of Mitchell Elementary School.

Firemen also bring a small robotic fire truck and videos about fire safety to show the children.

One of the highlights for kids during fire prevention week is the coloring contest for second graders. The winner of the contest gets to ride to school one day in a fire engine, an event which Harris said is “always a rush for the kids.”

Connor said the program presented at the schools by the fire department only takes about 30 minutes, and teachers cover fire safety in the classroom in addition to the fire department’s demonstration.

“It’s an important part of the total school safety program — just like pedestrian, bicycle and stranger safety,” Connor said. “It’s important for kids to be prepared to deal with potential dangers.”

Harris said one of the most important things about the fire department’s presentation is the educational newsletter students are given to take home and share with their families.

This newsletter provides fire prevention education in a manner that reaches parents and aims to help families start discussing fire safety in the home, he said.

Harris and the fire department want families to set up rules and develop plans of escape from houses in case of fire.