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Fire departments teach lifesaving skills to students through mobile safety house

Fire departments teach lifesaving skills to students through mobile safety house

MASSILLON, Ohio — As the temperatures drop across Northeast Ohio and we begin to crank up the heat and flip on our space heaters—fire safety is on the minds of many.

According to the US Fire Administration, at least 1,800 home fire deaths have already happened so far this year.

More than 100 occurred here in Ohio.

At least 19 of those victims were under the age of 14.

Although it can be scary and intimidating to talk to your children about fire safety, experts say it’s a necessary conversation, and it should begin as soon as they start walking and talking.

Local fire departments are doing their part by getting back into schools and providing a hands-on educational experience to area students, focused entirely on fire safety.

“Go go go….”

As alarms blare repeatedly, smoke fills the air in a home, making it nearly impossible to see in front of you.

How do you escape?

It looks like a dire situation.

But it’s all a drill.

“A lot of them come in feeling intimidated by the smoke and ya know, once they get done, they come out and realize ya know what?! I can do this!” said Tammy Wagner, Fire Inspector City of Massillon.

The house fire simulation mobile field trip comes at the hands of the Massillon, North Lawrence, and Bolivar Fire Departments working together as one.

Fire officials control the drill from the outside and monitor each and every move of participants.

It’s a lesson outside of the classroom they hope students will never forget.

Practice and preparation they say are critical to avoid a real-life tragedy.

Firefighters educate on the warning signs of fire, like feeling for a hot doorknob with the back of your hand, creating an escape plan with family members, and the best ways to react if your home catches on fire.

“We teach two ways out. Know two ways out. The first one is your bedroom door, the second one’s most commonly a window,” said Elliot Lee, Captain North Lawrence Fire Department.

Crews set up the fire safety house steps away from various elementary schools.

Students who participate say they immediately walk away with new things they never knew about it.

“I learned that you gotta crawl out very quickly and you gotta listen for the fire alarm to go off,” said Jaxson Pettry, third grader at Tuslaw Elementary.

The experience was initially put on pause for years due to the pandemic, but it’s back in person and more important than ever before as house fires are reported across Northeast Ohio each fall into the winter season.

“They again will have some more comfort in the fact that somebody’s here to help them. I need to go with this person and let them know I’m over here,” said Elliot Lee, Captain North Lawrence Fire Department.

“The more they can learn about safety here and at school the better,” said Shelly Menuez, Principal at Tuslaw Elementary.

Now that case counts are lower, fire officials plan to continue bringing the safety house to area schools.

Fire officials say if you need a smoke detector, contact your local fire department.

They provide them to community members in need.

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