Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

October 4, 2013

Fourth-graders recognize fire hazards

Diane Raver The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — Fire Prevention Week is Oct. 6-12, and Batesville firefighters are preparing to meet with area youth to discuss the topic.

Students from local preschools, Southeastern Indiana YMCA, St. Louis School and Batesville Primary School will receive information about this year’s theme, “Prevent Kitchen Fires,” reports Batesville fire Chief Todd Schutte.

“We will talk about not playing around the kitchen when their parents are cooking and tell them how to recognize hazards in the house. We will also discuss other things like having an escape plan and making sure you have working smoke detectors.” A new addition this year will be Sparky the Fire Dog.

“We started this program years ago and over the last three to four years it has really grown. It used to be we just went to the schools and did some fire drills.” Now firefighters present an entire program on fire safety.

Schutte believes it’s important to get the safety message out to kids because “with all the statistics you see with kids playing with matches and the child deaths that come from fires, it’s important for us to put out some sort of prevention plan .... There are not many fires in Batesville, and parents are doing a great job” of talking to their kids on the subject.

Fourth-graders at Batesville Intermediate School (Kayla Lawson, Nathaniel Deputy, Kyler Daulton, Travis Lecher, Brayleigh Patterson, Shelby Westerfeld and Ashley Ayette) and St. Louis School (Spencer Mack, Sophie Hirt, Elizabeth Gigrich, Ryan Reder, Faith Tekulve, Lilly Wonnell and Thomas Raver) discussed their ideas about fire safety.

“You should change your smoke detector every six months to make sure it’s in order,” Mack stresses.

“Your family should have a fire safety plan,” reports Lawson.

“Do not play with fire starters or matches. There is a risk you could start something in a large area,” Deputy points out.

“Make sure when you are done with electronics, you turn them off and unplug them or they might get hot and overheated,” Westerfeld notes.

Patterson responds, “If you have something plugged in, pull it out where it’s plugged in, not by the cord.”

Raver reports, “Do not play with matches.”

Reder emphasizes, “Never play with explosives or lighters.”

Mack adds, “Don’t mix gasoline and fire.”

Lawson announces, “Don’t have drinks around electronics.”

Hirt advises, “Every time you dry your clothes, you need to clean out the lint .... (and) if your parents smoke, always tell them to tip the edge off their cigarettes, otherwise the tip could catch fire.”

Patterson reveals, “When you have a camp fire, make sure you have a barrier so you don’t get too close.”

In addition, Daulton says, “If you have a camp fire and you’re about to go to sleep, put it out.”

The youngsters also had advice to prevent kitchen fires.

“Never touch the stove without asking an adult and never put metal in a microwave,” Lawson maintains.

If there is a fire on the stove, “put some baking soda on it,” Wonnell stresses.

“You can also put a lid on the pot or pan,” Tekulve notes.

“If you’re cooking in the kitchen, and a fire gets out of hand, you should have a fire extinguisher,” Reder announces.

“Always make sure you don’t leave the stove on when you’re done cooking,” Ayette adds.

“When you’re done with the toaster, unplug it and let it cool,” Westerfeld says.

The students know exactly what to do if there is a fire at home.

“Never panic,” Lecher says.

Reder reveals, “I have a closet that leads to my little brother’s room. I would get him out of his bed and get down the stairs. We have two different ways to get out. If the back door is blocked, I’d go to the front.”

Mack would “walk into my closet. We have an escape ladder in there. I would attach it to the window and climb away.”

“If you’re on fire, you should stop, drop and roll,” Raver recalls.

“Test the door with the back of your hand before opening it,” Gigrich says. Then “get on your hands and knees and go out.”

Tekulve knows, “If it’s hot, get a blanket to block the door.”

Westerfeld reports, “Never go back in the house.”

Wonnell notes, “You should call 911 and tell them if someone’s in the house.”

Ayette says, “Don’t be afraid of the firemen .... (and if you can’t get out), put a white sheet out the window so they know where you are.”

Deputy reveals, “Don’t try to get your toy or stuffed animal if there’s a fire or you could get hurt.”

Tekulve summed up the reason for Fire Safety Week: “You have to be safe with everything.”

Diane Raver can be contacted at diane.raver@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.