Elementary students learn about fire safety and prevention

A man stands in front of a group of students
A Central Bridge volunteer firefighter teaches kindergarten students about the many features of a fire truck.

Schoharie CSD held the first of two Fire Prevention and Safety days today as elementary students got a first-hand look and hands-on experience courtesy of three local fire departments.

Schoharie, Gallupville and Central Bridge volunteer firefighters brought their trucks, gear and knowledge to our school.

The students learned what to do in the event of fire at home through a simulated experience in the Fire Safety Trailer, which is outfitted to look like a home. They also were able examine fire trucks to see all of the equipment and learn what it’s like to sit inside the cab. They also learned about the various personal gear firefighters use. They even got to aim a fire hose and attempt to blast a tennis ball off a traffic cone.

Schoharie Fire Chief Marty Pierce said the annual fire safety events at the school are vital.

“It’s very important. It teaches these kids a little bit of right from wrong,” said Pierce, who helped run the Fire Safety Trailer, which simulated a house on fire which the students had to safely and quickly exit.

A woman kneels next to a student
A volunteer firefighter gives some encouragement to a student before she uses a fire hose.

Going back to the school year-after-year has a huge benefit because it reinforces what the students learned about fire safety in the previous year, he said.

“We go over meeting places, what to do in an emergency and it doesn’t top here it continues right on up until they are into the higher grades,” Pierce said.

There is another benefit to the experience, he said.

One of the goals is it gives students the opportunity to learn the importance of being a volunteer firefighter and to inspire them to consider joining when they are old enough.

“I joined at the age of 16, lived in Schoharie my whole life and been in the fire department for 29 years,” Pierce said. “Learning about it gives them a little sense of direction if they want to become a firefighter, we will absolutely take them at the age of 16.”

For the students it was a fun and educational experience.

“I like the firefighters’ trucks,” said kindergartner Tate, who stood with his friends next a big red Central Bridge fire truck.

Tate’s classmate Gavin said he learned a lot.

“If you are in a house and there’s smoke in it, you cannot be inside it,” Gavin said.

A second day of fire prevention and safety education is set for Friday, Sept. 27. Schoharie CSD wishes to thank all of the volunteer firefighters who made this learning experience possible.