EDITOR DANIEL CLIFTON
MARBLE FALLS — As the smoke filled the small room, Marble Falls Fire Rescue firefighter Dan Kramer asked the five First Baptist Christian School students the first thing they should do.
A couple of hands shot up as one student called out, “Get on the floor.”
“Go ahead and do that,” he said.
The kids dropped from the small bed to the floor as the smoke sank.
The next step, Kramer advised, was to find a way out. He asked what the most obvious route was, and the kids responded, “The door.”
One of the students crawled over to the door, placed her hand on it, and reported that it was warm to the touch. This, the firefighter explained, means there’s a possibility of fire on the other side of the door.
The Oct. 13 program at the school wasn’t a typical fire safety lesson. Instead, firefighters brought a specially built trailer outfitted to look like a home complete with kitchen and bedroom. The Safety House, as it’s called, is on loan for a couple of weeks from the Pflugerville Fire Department ESD No. 2.
It gives small groups of students an interactive experience.
“When they’re in here, they see the stove or they feel the back of the door, and it’s warm. It makes a bigger impact,” said Marble Falls Fire Rescue firefighter Rowan Arnold. “It’s not just me or someone else standing up here and telling them about fire safety and what they should do.”
Marble Falls Fire Rescue used the trailer during National Fire Prevention Week, which was Oct. 8-14. The department will keep it through the week of Oct. 16 as crews make the rounds to several local campuses to educate students about fire safety.
Two things the Marble Falls crews are stressing is EDITH and Plan 2 Ways Out.
“We’re talking to kids about EDITH,” said Marble Falls Fire Marshal Thomas Crane, “which is Exit Drill in the House.”
Firefighters will also talk about the importance of families coming up with at least two exit strategies in case of a fire.
“What are you going to do if the main exit, usually the door to your room is blocked or there’s fire outside of it?” he asked. “You have to find another way out.”
Which goes back to Kramer’s lesson to First Baptist Christian School students Oct. 13.
With fire outside the door, and fake smoke filling the room, students faced a problem, but one firefighters hoped they could figure out in the Safety House and not have to solve in a real emergency.
“OK, you can’t go out the door,” Kramer said, “so now what to you do? Where do you go?”
For a few moments the kids thought about the problem before one shouted, “The window.”
“That’s right,” Kramer said.
The students excited the window into the waiting arms of Crane.
Crane explained earlier that families also needed to come up with a meeting place to make sure everyone safely made it out of the house.
Arnold reminded students that they are never to go back into a burning house.
If a bedroom is on the second story, Crane recommended purchasing emergency ladders that can be stored inside the window or outside the house. During one of the scenarios, Kramer asked the kids if they didn’t have a way down from a second-story window what should they do. One student said throw toys out the window to attract the firefighters’ attention. Kramer agreed as well as telling them you can also call for help.
Along with the fire safety lesson, each student received goody bag to take home to their parents with more information to review.
“It’s great we get to tell the kids about fire safety, but we also need to make sure their parents know about it,” Crane said. “So we’ll send information home with the kids so they can help teach their parents.”
Go to marblefallsfire.org for more fire safety information.