During the last spring, our team is busier than ever visiting LA schools. During the last part of April, and thru all of May, we visited LA area schools nearly every day, with multiple visits on some days.
A number of people ask us, “what is a school visit like?”
Our education presenters will arrive at a school and set up our materials in the auditorium. Typically, the closest fire station (often called the first-in) will send an Engine company and a Rescue Ambulance to join us.
Once the students have taken their seats, we’ll introduce the program, the firefighters and explain to our audience that fire safety is an important topic not to be taken lightly. It is really amazing to see the attentive and serious looking faces of our young audience as we explain the program. This takes just a few minutes.
We start the program with a short video that shows students how to create a “family escape plan” with their parents – and how to practice it. Once the video finishes, we offer a verbal quiz to see what type of retention the students have. Correct answers win prizes, such as our “famous fires” LAFD/MySafe:LA trading cards.
Our firefighter partners will join the presentation at that time, typically explaining the difference between a medical emergency and a fire emergency in terms of what kids will see when firefighters arrive. An explanation and demonstration of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is shown, to the delight of the students. Firefighters and MySafe:LA members will engage in give and take with the students on a variety of fire and life safety topics.
A student will be selected to come forward and together with a firefighter or MySafe:LA member, we’ll demonstrate “get low and go” for all of the kids present. This is followed up by taking direction from firefighters and having the entire auditorium exist the building using the technique of “get low and go.”
Once outside, the students are organized into groups, where they get the opportunity to see what’s carried on a fire engine, an ambulance, and to get up close with firefighters and their protective equipment. On occasions were time and access are available, we’ll set up a one-inch hose line and give kids a chance to spray water and feel just like an LA firefighter.
For many of these kids, it’s an experience they’ve never had. And once we’ve completed the program, the kids are enthusiastic about telling their parents, grand-parents, and other family members. And, that is the point.
We also provide teachers with a DVD filled with educational exercises, fun activities, and other fire safety materials they can incorporate into their existing curricula. Teachers have too much to do already these days, so we work to add value to their educational calendar, without adding a burden to their workload.