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Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire
Updated May 25, 2015 7:28 AM
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braxton Brown crawling through.jpg
Braxton Brown crawling through smokehouse

(BEDFORD) - Fire safety is "real cool" according to students at Shawswick Elementary School.

Shawswick Volunteer Fire Department, an IU Health Hospital ambulance crew, and Air Evac presented a fire safety program at Shawswick Elementary School Friday.

Children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade participated in the program.

Every year in the United States more than 4,000 people die and more than 20,000 are injured in fires, 80 percent of fire deaths occur in the home. Statistically, those numbers don't sound like a lot, but if you've ever met a burn victim or carried a little body from a burnt home they are astounding says Shawswick VFD Capt. Jason Fisher.

That is why he stresses, "where there is smoke there is fire and where the is fire there is smoke."

"To keep your family safe from the risks of fire, you'll need to concentrate on four areas: education, prevention, detection, and response," says Shawswick VFD Chief Bobby Brown. "That is why we started fire safety programs at the school. The department has been doing them for more than 20 years."

Fisher has been speaking to children for ten or more of those years.

"We want these kids to go home and talk about what they have learned here today," Fisher says. "Families need to take specific steps to keep their families safe. People need to install and maintain smoke detectors, and you'll need to plan ahead on how to react in case of a fire, so that if the worst happens, you're prepared, and no one is injured or killed. If you cover some basic steps, you'll greatly reduce your family's fire risk."

During the presentation, children entered a smoke house. The house was filled with "safe" smoke so they could not see where they were going. Children had to crawl out of the building to safety.

"It was really hard to see inside," says third grader Isaac Shifflett. "I just kept crawling and touching the sides of the walls until I could find the way out. I know if there is a fire at my house I will run to the nearest escape. And if I can't get out I am going to the nearest window and yelling to let them know where I am."

Shawswick EMS Coordinator Greg May, knows the safety programs work. Shortly after presenting one in 1993. May received a letter for a little girl who lost her home to a fire a few weeks after attending the program.

"It was heart wrenching," he added. "But she knew what to do and thanks us for teaching her how to get out of her burning home. I still have that letter in a frame hanging on my wall. That is why I keep participating in these programs every year."

Nine-year-old Brooke Elliott knows the most dangerous times for a house fire is at night when everyone is asleep.

"I would wake everyone up and we would get out of the house," Elliott says. "I know if I am on fire to stop, drop and roll. I knew most of the things they taught us today, because they give a presentation every year and i remember what to do, but it is a really good reminder and I am glad they come every year."

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