By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Firefighter Jeff describes what each part of the firefighting gear is for as Firefighter Glenn stays low to avoid intimidating the preschoolers in the class at St. James.


On Wednesday, Oct. 10, Belvidere firefighters visited the St James Catholic School Pre-K class as part of the class’ learning about community helpers. “Firefighters top the list,” said teacher Ellen LaBianco.

When Firefighters Jeff Vaughan, Mike Scarpetta, and Glenn Williams arrived, the class went outside to see the fire truck before it started to rain. A couple of the children were shy and stayed by their teacher, others went in one side of the truck, out the other side, and tried for a second go-round before the firefighters noticed. One boy wanted to stay in the truck and hang out with the firefighters all day.

As the rain increased in intensity, the kids and firefighters returned to the classroom to learn about fires.

Firefighter Jeff began by asking the kids what number they would call if they needed the fire department. “991” was one answer. “3” replied another child. The kids then had an opportunity to ‘dial’ 911 on a visual aid.

“Where does smoke hang out?” Firefighter Jeff asked. “Down here or up there? It hangs out up there. That’s why you should stay low and get out if you see smoke. Stay low and crawl outside as fast as you can.” The kids enjoyed their crawl around the room and under the table.

“Don’t play with fire. If you see matches or a lighter, tell a grownup.

“What should you do if your clothes catch on fire? Stop, drop and roll. Oh, no!” he said in a concerned voice. “You stood too close to the campfire and your clothes are on fire! Quick! Stop, drop, and roll!” And kids had the chance to put out the ‘fire’ on their clothes. “Good work.”

“Firefighters might look a little scary in their gear and if you are ever in a fire, we want you to make noise, we don’t want you to hide from us,” Firefighter Jeff said. “Firefighter Glenn is going to put on his gear so…

For complete article, pick up the Belvidere Republican newspaper.

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