Akron Fire Company
1 Main Street
Akron, NY 14001
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Fire Prevention and Public Education2014
When the smoke alarm went off in the living room downstairs, Jimmy and Robbie knew they had to stay low to escape from their upstairs bedroom safely. They felt the door before opening it slowly, and when they reached the hallway, they alerted Sandy and Kelly in the next bedroom. Jimmy and Robbie then slid down the stairs and under the heavy smoke, which was rapidly filling the stairway, and crawled to the front door safely. By the time Sandy and Kelly checked their door it felt warm, so they used their alternate escape route: out the window and onto the deck, then using an escape ladder, they climbed down to safety. When the four children reached their meeting place, they were greeted with cheers from their fellow students rather than the sound of fire sirens. This was another training session with the Akron Fire Company’s Fire Safety House.
The Akron Fire Company has had a long tradition of community education in the Akron School system, our own fire hall, and surrounding communities, since the early 1970’s. It first began as a way of introducing children to Firemen in their turn out gear. Wearing their "Rubber goods" firemen would don self-contained breathing apparatus and showed off our "newest" fire truck, a 1971 Chevrolet Pickup converted for use as a grass fire truck. Since then we have developed specific programs targeted to each grade level.
The primary tool in our fire safety education, for children ages 4-8, is the Fire Safety House. It was built during the 1993-94 school year by students from Akron associated with the vocational training center of Erie County (BOCES). The Fire Safety House is a half scale home on a trailer that includes a kitchen and living room, with fire place, in the lower half and two bedrooms, (one with a porch), in the upper half. Special features included in the house are a Rosco smoke machine, (which is ducted into the ceiling of some of the rooms), a heater that is built into one of the bedroom doors, smoke alarms, an electrical generator for remote locations.
In the classroom, Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten students learn about the dangers of playing with fire, and matches, through a puppet show which involves the characters of Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street. Giving any matches and lighters to an adult is the best answer when found around the home and elsewhere. In first grade children receive an educational tour of one of our fire trucks. The second grade students learn about our ambulance and what to expect if they, or someone in their family, needs to be transported to the hospital in it. We also introduce them to what a fireman looks like in their fire fighting gear so they are not afraid to see them in an emergency situation.
In the Fire Safety House all of the children are taught about:
In third, fourth, and fifth grade Akron Central School students learn about more complex issues. The third grade children learn about fire hazards and what to look for when inspecting their homes for fire hazards. The fourth grade students learn about fire safety through a "Kids TV News" video. It receives great reviews from the kids and is a great starting point for conversations that occur after. The students of the fifth grade attend a hands-on extinguisher training session in the school parking lot involving a "live burn". On the lighter side most of the younger grade students get to spray water from a fire hose to knock down the "flames" attached to the top of our plywood "small house with flames" scenic element. The Akron Fire Company believes that by working with the young children year after year in the classroom, in the Fire Safety house, and with live demonstrations, children are able to practice first hand the techniques that may one-day save their lives and the lives of others.
The last training of the school year is for the High School Students just before graduation, and is in the form of a live demonstration. With a donated car from a junkyard, the Akron Fire Company shows the students what it would be like to be extricated from an automobile accident. Pre-arranged student volunteers are placed in and around the car, and the scene is treated as a real emergency. With narration the students learn about stabilization of the automobile, what to look for that may cause problems around the scene, the "Jaws of Life" that are being used to cut and bend the car apart, and most importantly the safety of the accident victim during and after the extrication. Hopefully, this demonstration will make the students think twice before they get behind the steering wheel of an automobile, or get into a vehicle with someone who wants to drive after they have been drinking.
The Akron Fire Company devotes over two weeks of training to the Akron School system, Day Care Centers, and community in general. In addition, we received 13 requests for our education program and the Fire Safety House during the year 2000. These requests have come from neighboring fire companies and community organizations all over Erie, Genesee, Orleans, and Niagara Counties, and the requests continue to grow annually. In total, last year we were responsible for training over 2500 students and young adults and devoted over 340 man-hours to that training. And though manpower limits the obligations we are able to make, we continually try to honor as many requests as possible.
The education program of the Akron Fire Company continues to evolve as we look for better tools and presentations to help further our fire safety and educational goals. And those goals are simple: To make our community, and neighboring communities, a safer place to live.
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