Photo Information

Robert Harrell demonstrates how firefighters interact with people in distress on emergencies during a visit to W. J. Gurganus Elementary School in Havelock, N.C., Oct. 22, 2015. Members of the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Fire and Emergency Services Department visited the local elementary school to teach children about the importance of fire safety and prevention. The air station fire department actively participates in school visits to encourage children of all ages to practice safety measures to keep both their families and themselves safe. Harrell is a firefighting paramedic with the MCAS Cherry Point Fire and Emergency Services Department. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas/Released)

Photo by Cpl. N.W. Huertas

Firefighters educate local elementary school students on fire safety

23 Oct 2015 | Cpl. N.W. Huertas 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

Members of the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Fire and Emergency Services Department held fire safety classes during an educational visit to W. J. Gurganus Elementary School in Havelock, Oct. 22.

Emergency service providers went to the elementary school to reach out to the children about the importance of fire safety and prevention at home and at school.

“October is National Fire Prevention month and fire departments across the country are getting out of their stations and into schools to educate children about the importance of fire safety,” said Brandee Ridgway, an air station fire inspector. “The Cherry Point Fire Department assists the city of Havelock with fire prevention education in the local schools through events like this. We feel that fire safety is a vital aspect of the education of the youth in our community.”

The children were exposed to numerous interactive activities and videos provided by the firefighters that taught them the basics of fire safety and provided them with simple procedures they can follow to safely escape from a dangerous fire.

“We teach the children procedures like ‘stop, drop and roll,’ safe ways to exit burning buildings, how to properly call a 911 dispatcher and numerous other fire prevention routines they can practice on their own,” explained Ridgway. “They also see the firefighters put on in their gear and get the opportunity to try some of it on themselves. The interactions allow the children to be less frightened of the gear and get familiarized with what emergency services would look like through the chaos of an emergency.”

The school encourages its students to practice safe habits and integrates many safety tips into its curriculum, explained Paul Schwab, the assistant principal. Having the fire department come to the school gives the students a more hands-on interaction with the procedures they learn. And, the school visit provides resources for both school officials and students to learn and share with their families.

“I want to see the students learn the true function of the fire department,” explained Schwab. “If there is an emergency, they should not be fearful for themselves because they know that the firefighters they met today will be there to save them. The goal is for the students to take those safety tips home with them and help prevent dangerous situations.”

You never know when a fire is going to happen to you or someone you care for, said Ridgway. Helping the community prepare for an unforeseen event such as a fire in their home can make people more aware of what they can do in their everyday lives to prevent such a tragedy.

For further information regarding fire safety at home or at work, stop by the Cherry Point Fire Department or call the local fire department. Those located on base can call (252) 466-5607 and speak to a fire inspector during the week, or (252) 466-3000 on weekends.