By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
BEAT THE HEAT: GBFD teaches students fire safety
Setting a grease fire
GBFD Engineer Garrett Tindall pours water on a grease fire to demonstrate to students why water is not a safe way to extinguish a grease fire in the kitchen at Tuesday morning’s Fire Safety presentation. - photo by Daniel Kiewel

Students at Great Bend elementary schools are learning a little hands-on fire safety this week, courtesy of the Great Bend Fire Department. Members of the GBFD are visiting each school, demonstrating for students the sights and sounds of fire safety in the home in recognition of Fire Safety Week, being observed this week.

This year’s theme is “Learn the Sounds of Fire Safety,” as local firefighters focus on the importance of having working smoke detectors in the home, and how students should respond when they hear those detectors sound the alarm, alerting them to a fire in the home.

Tuesday morning’s presentation to the students of Lincoln Elementary School in Great Bend included several demonstrations and tips for the students to help keep them and their families safe in the event of a fire.

As GBFD Engineer David Smiros demonstrated the distinctive shrill beeps of a smoke detector, he said, “When the smoke detector goes off, and we’re inside our house, we’re going to go find an adult. If you can’t find an adult, you’re going to get out.”

As Smiros explained crucial fire safety procedures, Sparky the Fire Dog enlisted the help of several Lincoln students in demonstrated how to stop, drop and roll, and exiting a burning home safely, as well as some ways that may not be as safe. 

Smiros emphasized the importance of getting out safely and calling 911, but only in an emergency.

“Do we call 911 to order a pizza?” Smiros asked. “No!”

GBFD Fire Inspector Mike Smith explained the safe use of fire extinguishers to put out small fires, and recruited two older students as well as a teacher to demonstrate their proper method. He emphasized the importance of getting out safely.

“The main thing is that everybody gets out (of the house),” Smith said. “We can’t replace you guys.”

Engineer Garrett Tindall then offered students several instructions on fire safety in the kitchen. He first stressed to the students not to put metal items in the microwave, because of spark and ignition risk.

Then firefighters turned their attention to a smoking stove, and first demonstrated several potential fire hazards, including towels, grease and baking powder. Engineer Chad Burroughs also told students never to leave pan handles facing out, and never leave the kitchen when items are cooking on the stove. Burroughs also helped Smiros demonstrate the gear firefighters use to keep themselves safe in a fire.

Wrapping up the presentation, firefighters gave students hands-on demonstration of how to deal with – as well as how not to deal with – a grease fire on a hot stove. They demonstrated the use of a pan lid to extinguish the fire, and finished the presentation in spectacular fashion by demonstrating by pouring water on the fire, demonstrating by way of a large fireball why grease fires should not be put out with water.

Fire Safety Week presentations will continue throughout the rest of the week at other Great Bend preschools and elementary schools.