Getting a Lesson in Fire Prevention

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- It is National Fire Prevention Week and firefighters all over the country are reminding folks what to do to prevent and stay safe during house fires.

For 20 years, the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department has been using a fire safety house to teach children a very important lesson.

"With Fire Prevention Week, every year, we come around to all the third-grade students in the Wilkes-Barre area, and we have the kids run through the smokehouse. We give them lessons on fire safety, fire prevention," said Capt. Francis Evanko, Wilkes-Barre Fire Department.

When the students first enter the house, they learn about kitchen safety and how to prevent fires from starting while cooking.

"You could set something on fire like, if you have a newspaper next to the stove, then it could catch on fire and burn the whole house down," said third-grader Xena Urban.

Then the students go upstairs into a bedroom for a drill in a realistic environment.

"It's got foggy, and we can't see the stairs," said third-grader Jaydon Clarke.

The smoke used inside the fire safety house is a play smoke used in Halloween decorations, so it's safe, but it does simulate real-life visibility issues these children would face in a house fire. Once they get low, the visibility gets much better.

"You're supposed to get down low crawl, and you feel around for stuff, so that way you know where you are, and that way you can get out of the house safely."

"Get low and go" isn't the only takeaway children learned inside.

"Don't touch the doors with your hand, touch the doors with your backhand," Jaydon added.

"If the smoke was coming from under the door, you have to get a blanket or a towel to put at the bottom, so it blocks from the smoke getting inside. And if you can't get out the door, you could open a window and wave to the firefighters to get help," said third-grader Sarai Hughes.

This drill for the students may have been a break from the classroom but not homework. Their assignment is to change the batteries in smoke alarms in their homes and make sure they are in the proper place.

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