The Coon Rapids Fire Department presented programs in all Coon Rapids elementary schools and hosted open houses at all three fire stations as part of Fire Prevention Week activities.
Five firefighters went to nine elementary schools with their fire prevention message the week of Oct. 7-10, while the department hosted open houses Saturday.
This year’s safety theme for National Fire Prevention Week was preventing kitchen fires and two cooking fire demonstrations took place at the Oct. 12 open house at Fire Station 3.
At Fire Station 1, disc jockey Matt Perkins played music, while at Fire Station 2, there was an auto extrication drill.
People could tour the fire stations, kids could clamber on the fire trucks and vehicles, try out a fire hose and get into fire turnout gear. Refreshments were also served.
And at all three fire stations, there was cardio-pulmonary resuscitation training as part of the Heart Safe Coon Rapids program.
The fire department’s fire safety program in the elementary schools kicked off with a song and dance routine performed by Jim Ktytor, Todd Williams, Shannon Moen, Greg Leciejewski and Nick House.
Then Freddie the Fire Truck made an appearance to the delight of the children before Williams, the city’s fire marshal, talked about fire safety and prevention.
One focus was on preventing kitchen fires. Students were told to stay at least three feet from a stove when cooking is taking place and to make sure their parents are paying attention to what’s cooking in a pan on the stove and are not distracted.
Cooking-related fires in a kitchen are the most common fires nationally and locally, according to Williams.
And he gave some examples of kitchen fires that had occurred recently in Coon Rapids.
“Make sure the stove is off when you leave the kitchen,” Williams said. “It makes a difference.”
Holding a smoke alarm and demonstrating it, Williams told the students to tell their parents to make sure that there are smoke detectors in the home and that they are working by testing them and changing the batteries regularly.
Williams also urged children not to play with matches and lighters as they can cause fires in the home very easily.
He spoke of a personal experience when he was four years old and got hold of a lighter to find something in bedroom closet, causing a fire.
“I didn’t mean to start a fire, but I lost everything,” Williams said.
“Don’t play with lighters and matches.”
In addition, with three students volunteers, the children were given a demonstration of the correct procedure to use when escaping a fire in their home – either through a door or window.
Make sure there are two escape routes that can be used to get out of the home in event of a fire and also ensure that the family has a meeting place outside, Ktytor said.
Peter Bodley is at firstname.lastname@example.org