By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Republican
Firefighter Chad Cunningham assists a Seth Whitman Elementary School second grader to ‘escape’ through the window of the BFD Fire Safety House.

The Belvidere Fire Department spends October of each year, Fire Safety Month, sending firemen to every second grade class of Boone County School District 100 to educate the students in fire safety and the role they play.

On Wednesday, Oct. 17, Firefighters Dan Drall and Chad Cunningham were visiting the second grade classes of Lincoln Elementary School. They spoke with four classes while on the premises, educating 92 children.

The two firefighters split the class, Firefighter Dan speaking to the kids in the classroom while Firefighter Chad took the other half of the class out to the mobile Fire Safety House.

FF Dan began with basics to find out what the kids already knew then reassured them that if they did their part, he would do his.

“If you make noise, I will find you 100 percent of the time.

“If the doors are blocked? Give me a hammer and I can go through any wall in your house. I train all the time. I have tools.”

Mobile Fire House

FF Chad then traded children with FF Dan and took the other half of the class out to the mobile Fire House. “When we get to the fire,” FF Chad said, “One guy will walk around the house and look for anything out of place (teddy bears, sheets, anything) and listen for anyone yelling for help. When you get out, go to your meeting place. Firefighters do not run into a burning building unless there is someone still inside. Then we go right in. Otherwise, we want to make it safe first.”

He then took the kids into another room where a little smoke was released so the smoke detector would go off. When the smoke detector went off, the kids practiced getting out of a ‘burning’ building by climbing through the window. They all went to their meeting place, counted, and found everyone was present and accounted for.

The kids thought …

For complete article, pick up the Nov. 1 Belvidere Republican.