Ada second graders experienced firefighting tools and equipment on Oct. 15. (Ada Herald/Megan Watson)
Ada second graders experienced firefighting tools and equipment on Oct. 15. (Ada Herald/Megan Watson)

ADA — Last Thursday, Oct. 15, the entire second grade from Ada Schools walked to the Ada Volunteer Fire Department. The students were welcomed by firefighter Marcia Prater who said that the goal of their time spent at the fire station was to learn how to react if they ever had a fire in their home, ways to prevent fires and to recognize but not fear a firefighter’s equipment and uniform.

First, students learned about what types of situations warrant a 911 call.  They were able to see, feel and hear a firefighter in full rescue uniform.  Allowing kids to tap their hard hats, see how they walk when dressed and listen to the sounds the oxygen tanks make helps to make sure kids in a danger situation know that, although a firefighter might “look like Darth Vader from Star Wars”, he or she is there to get them to safety.  Students were also shown the department’s thermal sensor which the firefighters use to identify people in the dark or in smoke.

The second graders broke into three groups that then took turns exploring a mock smoke room, the fire trucks and testing a fire door.  In the smoke room, kids were shown how to crawl on the floor to move through a room that has filled with smoke. A fog machine simulated a house filled with smoke from a fire.  The firefighters explained that hot air rises so staying as low as possible to the ground is the safest thing anyone can do. Smoke from a structure fire can get as hot as 700 degrees.  Telling the students that a turkey cooks at 400 degrees helped them to understand just how serious smoke can be and stressed the importance of staying on the floor.  

Next stop was exploring the fire trucks.  Kids were able to climb in and out of the cab of the truck as well as watch a fire fighter climb to the top of the trucks 75 foot ladder.  

An invaluable lesson came from the fire door.  Kids learned that just because the handle is cool doesn’t mean a door is safe to open. Using the back of their hand, each student tested the door from bottom to top. They could feel heat three fourths of the way up the door.  They then learned how important it was to sit on the door knob side and wait for the firefighters to come get them so that they are not trapped behind the door when it is opened.

The field trip ended with each Ada second grader being officially accepted as Junior Firefighters. The kids  received sticker badges, coloring books, rulers and a personalized fire department magnet. The fire station reminded the class that fire safety and prevention starts with each and every one of them.