Coon Rapids firefighters take fire safety message to schools

The Coon Rapids Fire Department took its fire prevention and safety message into Coon Rapids elementary schools this week.

Coon Rapids Firefighter Greg Leciejewski in full turnout gear greets kindergarten and first-grade students at Epiphany School, Coon Rapids, Tuesday during the fire department’s annual Fire Prevention Week program in Coon Rapids elementary schools.

Coon Rapids Firefighter Greg Leciejewski in full turnout gear greets kindergarten and first-grade students at Epiphany School, Coon Rapids, Tuesday during the fire department’s annual Fire Prevention Week program in Coon Rapids elementary schools.

It was part of the department’s 2012 Fire Prevention Week Oct. 7-13 activities, which also include open houses at all three fire stations in Coon Rapids tomorrow (Saturday, Oct. 13) from 10 a.m. to noon.

Fire Marshal Todd Williams and Fire Inspectors Nick House, Jim Ktytor, Greg Leciejewski and Shannon Moen made three presentations each in nine schools according to grade – K-1, 2-3 and 4-5.

According to Williams, the emphasis of this year’s Fire Prevention Week is making sure there are two ways out of a residence in case of fire.

Families should have in place a fire escape plan, including specifying a location to meet outside like a tree or mailbox, and practice the plan, Williams said.

In addition, children were encouraged to go home and ask their parents to make sure there are working smoke detectors in the home, he said.

Cooking and candle safety as well as general safety in the home were also talked about.

In addition, there were some hands-on activities for the students, depending on grade level.

However, the firefighters spiced up the fire safety and prevention message to children with some entertainment.

They kicked off each presentation with a dance routine, which was choreographed by Heidi Hite, wife of Firefighter Justin Hite and a former Minnesota Vikings cheerleader.

She taught the firefighters the steps and moves, according to Williams.

Rehearsals started a week earlier. “She had her work cut out,” Williams said.

This year’s dance routine used chairs as a prop.

In addition, Freddie the Fire Truck made an appearance complete with a smoke detector, flashing light, siren and hose with which he sprayed the kids, much to their delight.

According to Williams, firefighters have been going into the schools for Fire Prevention Week presentations since the late 1980s.

The only changes have been technology-based, for example, a power point presentation, Williams said.

Firefighters visited Cross of Christ Oct. 8, Epiphany and Eisenhower Oct. 9, Hamilton and Morris Bye Oct. 10, Sand Creek and Adams Oct. 11 and Hoover and Mississippi Oct. 12.

At Epiphany Tuesday morning, Patricia Bredenkamp, the school’s longtime associate principal who died suddenly late last month, was recognized with a moment of silence before the program.

In addition, Ktytor spoke about Bredenkamp as a wonderful person to work with, who was both “stern and a very sweet lady,” he said.

“She meant a great deal to us and she will be missed very much,” Ktytor said.

The open houses tomorrow will include station tours, fire apparatus on show and cookies and juice at all three stations.

There will also be specific activities at the individual stations.

• Station 1, 1460 Egret Blvd., Yo Yo Master Dazzling Dave from 10 to 11 a.m. and car extrication at 11 a.m.

• Station 2, 1199 121st Ave. N.W., DJ Matt Perkins Dance Club and sprinkler demonstration at 11 a.m.

• Station 3, 2831 113th Ave. N.W., kitchen fire demonstrations at 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

For more information on Coon Rapids Fire Department Fire Prevention Week activities call 763-767-6429.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com


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