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Fire Prevention Week starts Sunday
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Great Bend’s firefighters plan to visit every elementary school in town this month, and several preschools as well, teaching lessons they hope kids will learn — and then teach to their parents at home.
Capt. Luke McCormick said GBFD’s observation of National Fire Prevention Week (Oct. 7-13) actually lasts for nearly two weeks, starting Monday morning at Eisenhower Elementary School and wrapping up in the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 18 at Head Start preschool and TLC preschool.
By the time they finish sixth grade, students in Great Bend should have heard the lessons many times. Each year a different group of firefighters is in charge of writing and presenting a skit that keeps kids' attention and teaches them some basics, such as remembering to crawl or stay low in smoke, keep fresh batteries in every smoke detector, and call 911 in an emergency. Firefighters also stress that children shouldn’t play with matches or lighters, McCormick said. This year’s skit starts with the Three Stooges in a kitchen.
They’ll also be teaching children to know at least two ways out of their home in case of a fire. “Two ways out” is the theme for 2012 Fire Prevention Week, and was chosen by the National Fire Protection Association.
 “The reality is that when fire strikes, your home could be engulfed in smoke and flames in just a few minutes,” the association website notes. “It is important to have a home fire escape plan that prepares your family to think fast and get out quickly when the smoke alarm sounds. What if your first escape route is blocked by smoke or flames? That’s why having two ways out is such a key part of your plan.”
With fire escape planning and practice in mind, Great Bend Firefighters will have some homework for kids, and those who complete the assignment will get a coupon for a free Frosty, donated by Wendy’s. They will be asked to have their parents help them draw a home floor plan that shows the fire escape routes and a place outside where everyone should meet after exiting the building.
Younger children will receive coloring books or plastic firefighter hats.