It was a large production over at Truman Elementary School Tuesday at noon. A squadron of firetrucks was parked on the school grounds and there were groups of children at various learning posts that vacillated between rapt attention and kinetic frenzy. Something big was going on.

It was a large production over at Truman Elementary School Tuesday at noon. A squadron of firetrucks was parked on the school grounds and there were groups of children at various learning posts that vacillated between rapt attention and kinetic frenzy. Something big was going on.

This is Fire Prevention Week, but it is also Fire Prevention Month according to Rolla Fire and Rescue Asst. Chief Jeff Breen. Those children were there to learn about firemen, the jobs they do and a little about fire prevention in the home. He says they see every child in Rolla, including the private schools.

“This is such a great program,” said Capt. Matt Griggs. “It brings the kids together and brings an awareness of what we do and [teaches them] not to be afraid of us. They get to know and trust us, which is a big thing.”
The Capt. was busy running a hydraulic extricator that was cutting through metal pieces. He explained to the children the uses of the tool and was greeted with wide eyes of wonder.

Capt. Griggs says the children will take home what they learned at the demonstration, to share with their parents. “We hear from parents telling us their kids came home and talked about smoke detectors, evacuation drills in the home or calling 911,” he said.  “They educate the parents just as much as we educate them.”

Firefighter Nathan German was showing kids how to operate a fire hose. He said the hose the schoolchildren were holding could pump up to 200 gallons of water per minute.
“We try to show them everything we do, so they know we’re trying to keep them safe. The big hit of the day was for a firefighter to shoot some water at the kids—the squeals showed they were having fun, as well as learning.

Asst. Chief Breen explained the program is geared towards young children.
“We give a good mix, so we have hands-on, where they spray a firehose, we show them the trucks and the equipment and we also have fire prevention discussions with them,” he said. “the interaction is huge. We don’t want the kids to be afraid of us if there is an emergency at their house. They get to know us—they’ll draw us pictures and write us little notes—so that interaction is important . . . they know we’re there to help.”

“The local school system in Rolla is awesome for us to work with,” he said. “They allow us to disrupt a whole day of their classes to put this on.”

He said this Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Dept. will have an Open House at Station One, located at 1490 E. 10th Street.

“It’s a pretty big event,” he said. “We’ll have hotdogs, extrication demonstrations, CPR classes that we call the “Friends and Family Class,” so it’s geared toward the general public.” Those classes will be offered at 10 a.m. and noon and the Asst. Chief says you should call the station and reserve a place, because the classes are small.

Asst. Chief Breen also said you can expect station tours and the kids can see water rescue boats, as well as hazardous materials equipment used in those clean up operations.

Next stop—Wyman Elementary on Thursday, followed by Mark Twain next week.