Fire Safety: Through the smoke | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | November 10, 2017 5:00 pm
Last Updated: November 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm
“That smoke smells like candy,” a third-grader said after completing his Nov. 1 trip through the Fire Safety House.
Fire Chief Wayne Lake agrees. “It smells like cotton candy.”
As the trip through the fire safety house is concluding, the students gather in the second-story bedroom of the miniature house on wheels, watch as the room slowly fills with a white smoke — a non-toxic smoke generated to teach the children how to get low to the floor and make their way to the nearest exit.
During another tour, the living room ends the tour. The students once again get close to the floor to avoid the heaviest smoke and make their way outside.
The third-graders making the tour of the fire safety house get a chance to put the fire safety tips they have been learning since pre-school into practice. They use a phone to report the fire to emergency dispatch and point out a variety of fire hazards in the kitchen.
Lake said the fire department starts their fire prevention and safety program in the pre-schools in the city and continue through third grade at Forest Hills Elementary School, the only public school located inside the city limits.
Each year, Lake explained, city firefighters conducting the fire safety program expand on the fire prevention and safety tips from the previous year. “They learn more the older they get,” Lake said.
Once the safety program reaches the third-graders, the Fire Safety House caps their learning.
“It is a wonderful teaching tool,” Lake said. The Fire Safety House has been a regular part of fire prevention and safety programs in Colleton and Hampton County for 15 years. Lake said when fire departments in the two counties were looking for assistance to obtain the Fire Safety House, they turned to S.C. Rep. Bill Bowers. Back then Bowers’ district encompassed Walterboro, a large portion of Colleton County and Hampton County.
After being informed about the need, Lake said, Bowers helped the firefighters in the two counties secure a grant to purchase the fire prevention and safety tool.
The city’s fire prevention and safety educational program for students has been in operation for 28 years, Lake said. The department’s goal has been to train the city’s youngest residents and have them take what they have learned and share it with their parents.
He believes it has worked, suggesting that the number of bad calls the department responds to have decreased. Bad calls, Lake said, are residential structure fires. The fire prevention program deserves much of the credit for that improvement.
Another fire safety initiative aimed at reducing the chance reducing fire injuries has been restocked.
Lake said the fire department once again has received grants from Walmart and Service Masters of Charleston.
Walmart’s grant provided 50 smoke detectors, The grant from Service Masters of Charleston translates into 120 smoke detectors.
Last week, the fire department had representatives attend the Ireland Hills Neighborhood Crime Watch and was able to give away nearly 40 smoke detectors from the Walmart grant.
The fire department will be giving fire detectors at other events, and residents who need a smoke detector can obtain one by visiting the fire department.
There are no restrictions on obtaining a fire detector, Lake said. Those seeking a free detector will be asked their name and address so if there is a recall of the free detectors, the fire department can let them know about the recall.
“We like having them so we can give them away,” Lake said. “It is good public relations and it could save someone’s life.”