Stop, drop and roll

Alejandro Rodriguez practices the safety move stop, drop and roll Monday as his classmate Thaila Ramirez smiles and laughs and Ontario Fire Department administrative assistant Julia Rodriguez observes. Ontario Fire Department visited St. Peter Catholic School on Monday, and will visit other elementary schools throughout the week, as part National Fire Prevention Week.

ONTARIO — Do you know what to do when you hear a smoke detector, or who to call in case of an emergency? And just what is an emergency?

First- and second-graders at St. Peter Catholic School were asked these and other questions on Monday to get them thinking about planning for an emergency situation.

The education is tied into this week’s National Fire Prevention Week. This week, the Ontario Fire Department has been visiting elementary schools across the school district to educate first-graders on the importance of coming up with a game plan in case of a house fire.

In Diana Fast’s class on Monday, Ontario Fire Department administrative assistant Julia Rodriguez showed the class how a smoke detector works. The kids shut their eyes and plugged their ears as the din filled the room.

“Do you know what you do when you hear this?” Rodriguez asked the class.

A few hands shot in the air.

Rodriguez reminded the children: get out of bed, stay low to the ground, crawl to the door and check the temperature with the back of the hand.

If warm, try and find another way out like a window, Rodriguez told the students. If another way isn’t possible, roll up a blanket and stuff it in the door crack, and wait for firefighters.

Having to act fast in an emergency is why, Rodriguez said, it’s so important to come up with an escape plan as a family, complete with a meeting place after exiting the house.

A demonstration for both crawling and checking the door, and stop, drop and roll were performed by students.

Then the first responders gave the students homework: check smoke detectors to make sure they work properly and come up with an escape plan.

This message was emphasized repeatedly on Tuesday to Aiken Elementary schoolers by Ontario fire lieutenant Allen Montgomery and firefighter Mark Saito to a combined class of first-graders.

This time, however, they were given the opportunity to show the children what they looked like doffed out in their firefighting gear. Montgomery asked the kids if they knew Darth Vader, from the Star Wars series, as he drew similarities between a dressed firefighter and the main antagonist from the original trilogy.

Most said they did.

As Saito entered the classroom, crawling on his hands and knees, he slinked by some children and gave them high fives.

“Well, we’re the good guys,” Montgomery said as the other firefighter moved about the room. “We don’t want you to be scared of us. We want to prevent you from getting hurt.”

Much like Rodriguez at St. Peter Catholic School, he assigned homework: do a fire drill with the children’s parents and get an escape plan in place.

Every Tuesday night during the month of October, Ontario firefighters will be canvassing local neighborhoods to see if people have working smoke detectors. They will replace non-working smoke detectors at the time.

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