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Orion Gazette - Orion, IL
  • Orion firefighters teach fire safety to C.R. Hanna students

  • Orion firefighters are putting even more time and effort into educating the public, especially children, about fire prevention and fire safety, according to firefighter Scott Kerker.


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  • Orion firefighters are putting even more time and effort into educating the public, especially children, about fire prevention and fire safety, according to firefighter Scott Kerker.
    For example, they brought a miniature house to the village during Orion Fall Festival and National Fire Prevention Week, he said.
    Children go through the house, which is small enough to sit on a trailer yet is large enough to have an upstairs and downstairs, Kerker said.
    The firefighters fill the house with fake smoke, and the children practice getting out safely.
    Earlier this month, firefighters spent 15 hours over three days visiting classrooms and assemblies at C.R. Hanna Elementary School, Orion, Kerker said.
    During sessions lasting 30 to 45 minutes, they spoke about not playing with matches, having smoke detectors in the house, knowing two ways to get out of any room, carrying out fire drills at home, calling 911 for help, stopping, dropping and rolling if their clothes catch fire, and other topics.
    While one firefighter spoke, another firefighter donned all of his gear, Kerker said. During a fire, frightened children tend to hide in a closet or under a bed, and they will not come out when they see a firefighter because he looks scary.
    By watching a firefighter put on his turnout coat, helmet and face mask, air tank and other gear, the children see that a human being is underneath all that gear, Kerker said.
    The firefighters also provided coloring books for the students, and they ask that parents and grandparents sit down with the children and discuss what’s in the pictures.
    Firefighters involved in the program include Chief Dan Myers Sr., Doug Smutzer, Kerker, Jim Belton, Justin Ferry, Brad Peterson and Danny Myers Jr.
    “Scott did an excellent, excellent job,” the fire chief said.
    “He’s the reason for the success."
    “It’s worth 15 hours of time to save one life,” Kerker said.
     
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