El Dorado Kicks Off Fire Prevention Week With Hands-On Open House

By: Jason Tarr Email
By: Jason Tarr Email

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

El Dorado's Destiny Johnson had a lot of questions for her local firefighters Sunday, questions such as this one:

"How long does it normally take you to get in your firefighter outfit," Johnson asked El Dorado firefighter Michael Rose.

She was excited to have the opportunity to get answers face-to-face.

"I learned that if there's an electric thing you should not touch it because it can burn you and then like if there's a fire you need to go out and go to your safest place," Johnson said.

Not only did she get to talk with the firefighters, she and other kids had the chance to jump into the driver's seat of a fire truck, take their turn with a hands-on firefighting simulator, and work with a model house.

The Masonic Lodge was also there Sunday with its Child ID system.

"We hope it kind of gears up to (National) Fire Prevention Week, that when we go into the schools, not only are we there, but they'll listen to the message we have to bring," El Dorado firefighter/EMT Michael Rose said.

National Fire Prevention Week runs October 7-13 this year.

This weekend, Kansas joined the rest of the country to honor firefighters killed in the line of duty. Bells rang during a somber ceremony at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Chapel in Emmitsburg, Md. Sunday. The service honored 85 firefighters killed last year, including one from Kansas. The last time El Dorado lost a firefighter was in 1961.

The El Dorado Fire Department's open house experience began about four years ago, Chief Ken Nakaten said. He says the now annual event really helps the department deliver prevention education.

"Kids are excited when they see fire trucks and firefighters and I think they are very good promoters of fire safety," Nakaten said.

He says it's the hands-on experience that drills in the message.

"You'd be amazed what kids retain in terms of safety messages," Nakaten said.

And, he says, when the kids learn, so do the parents.

"We've heard back from a lot of parents who say they didn't know certain things until they were brought to their attention by their own kids," Nakaten said.

Destiny Johnson says she's ready to help educate her family and put her new knowledge to work at home.

"We can find where our safe place is and learn how to get out if the door is too hot," Johnson said.

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