Dalhart Fire Department educates with puppet show
By Robin Scott
National Fire Prevention Week began on Sunday, October 4th. The Dalhart Fire Department took the opportunity to visit with more than 700 children throughout the week and talk about fire safety.
Fire Chief Curtis Brown of the Dalhart Fire Department was busy traveling to area schools, churches and day care centers with Fred the Firemen and Spot the Dalmatian, two puppets clad in firefighter gear. The volunteer firefighters who work for the Dalhart Fire Department spent some of their “down” time building a puppet show stage, which they transport with them when they visit with kids. Throughout the week, the firefighters met with area youngsters and introduced Fred and Spot, who assisted in the message of fire safety.
On Wednesday afternoon, October 7th, Fire Chief Brown, Firefighters David Ballew, Sharlene Kimbrall and Bill Ballew held their puppet show at the Dalhart Area Child Care Center. The three and four-year-olds had the chance to meet Fred and Spot and interact with the fire safety program. Also in attendance on Wednesday was Paramedic DeNisa Brown. Together the emergency responders gave a fun-filled lesson on fire safety.
The kids learned about the “Stop, drop, cover my face and roll,” method of fire safety. They also learned that smoke rises, so staying low in a fire-ridden area is important. They all seemed to know what “911” is used for, but a quick reminder was given. Fire Chief Brown told the kids, “Be sure to call 911 if you see a fire, but not if your cat gets caught in a tree. Your cat will know how to get down, but you will need help from the firefighters if you’re in a fire!”
The 20-minute show concluded with each child learning how to crawl low to the floor, through a little make-believe smoke, to safety. They learned about having a “safety zone” once they get out of harm’s way. Safety zones might include the mailbox or the neighbor’s house. Fire Chief Brown stated, “Many parents die in fires each year because they go back into a house looking for their children, when their children are actually already out of the house and safe. Tell your parents that you need a safety zone outside of your house where everyone knows to go, that way you will all know that you are safe.”
Firefighter Sharlene Kimbrall played the voice of Spot the Dalmatian, and Firefighter David Ballew played the voice of Fred the Firefighter. Both came out from behind the stage to greet the kids. Fire Chief Brown asked the kids, “Did you know that ladies may be firefighters?” The kids screamed out, “Yes!” He further noted that the Dalhart Fire Department has four women firefighters. The department has approximately 35 members, all who go through rigorous training before receiving their certification.
For more information about fire safety and National Fire Prevention Week visit www.nfpa.org, www.firepreventionweek.org, or call the fire department at 244.5454.