It’s never too early to teach about fire safety

Published 9:50 pm Thursday, May 11, 2017

1st-graders receive shirts after learning emergency fire basics

First-grade students at Lakeview Elementary School were awarded with T-shirts and water bottles Wednesday for completing homework that could one day save their lives.

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Albert Lea firefighters distributed the items after students completed homework that included multiple tasks, such as testing home smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; knowing to call 911 and relaying their address to first responders; and crawling low if there is smoke in the room. It also covered stopping, dropping and rolling while covering their face with their hands; having children discuss a rule about matches, lighters and fires; and practicing home exit drills. This is the 26th year of the program.

Lakeview first-grade students wear the T-shirts given to them by Albert Lea firefighters for completing homework that could help them in times of emergency. – Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

Albert Lea Fire Department Capt. Mark Light recalled a first-grade teacher this year who said she still has a T-shirt she received from firefighters when she was in first grade.

“It obviously resonates with a lot of people when we do this,” he said.

“It’s a great deal.”

The visit is a culmination of three years of communication between firefighters and elementary school students that begins in preschool.

“It’s amazing how much information they retain,” Light said. 

The program includes all Albert Lea elementary schools. Homeschooled children visit the fire station.

“We try to catch everybody,” Light said. In the future, he hopes to expand education efforts to junior high and high school students to educate them before they attend college.

“Hopefully in the next year or two there will be some changes,” he said. “We’re not really getting rid of anything — we are going to be adding.”

Albert Lea Fire Department Capt. Mark Light presents a T-shirt Wednesday to Lakeview Elementary School first-grade student Gavin Mahoney. – Sam Wilmes/Albert Lea Tribune

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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