Smokey comes to Linden

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 13, 2005

LINDEN-During Fire Prevention Week the Linden Fire Department will be traveling to city schools to teach students about fire safety. Wednesday the fire department traveled to Linden Elementary School and today at 10 a.m. they will come to Marengo Academy.

Linden Fire Chief James Creel said this was part of an annual program the department participates in to make children aware of fire safety as early as possible.

“This is something we do every year,” Creel said. “During Fire Prevention week we always have a program for the schools because it is so important that you start early teaching them fire safety. The dividends will pay off.”

Email newsletter signup

Linden Elementary School principal Wanda Fisher said they participate in the program every year because of the positive results.

“We try to have this every year to educate our children so they can be safe at home,” Fisher said. “There are a lot of instances all over the country where students participate in these programs and save lives. It is very important we continue this program.”

Creel said there is a responsibility to adults to teach their children about fire safety. He said every year there are situations where people are injured in fires because they do not know what to do.

“We tell the teachers they have a huge responsibility, but the fire department does too,” Creel said. “I enjoy teaching the children and seeing their faces when Smokey comes out. There is also a factor that so many children are hurt each year in structure fires.”

Creel said it is alarming when you look at the figures. He also said the number of people who do not use smoke detectors and fire alarms is also alarming.

“You would also be surprised how many times we go to a fire and there are no alarms going off. We always ask them where the smoke detector was and they say they were meaning to get one or they didn’t realize how important they were, or they have been putting it off.”

Fisher said their main focus was to make sure children knew what to do in case of a fire. She said if they are properly educated they could save lives.

“We want them to be prepared in case of fire,” Fisher said. “It is amazing what young children such as these are capable of. So many know to dial 911 or stop, drop and roll because of this program. There are also instances where they save an adult or grandparents life by waking them up and getting them out of the house.”

National Fire Prevention Week is always the week in which Oct. 9 falls, in remembrance of the day in 1871 when the Great Chicago Fire started. Each year, a specific theme is chosen for Fire Prevention Week. In 2005, the theme is “Use Candles with Care.”

According to the Sleep Products Safety Council (SPSC), just over half of fires started by children begin in a bedroom, and, among fatal home fires started by children playing, three out of five involve children igniting bedding, mattresses, upholstered furniture or clothing.