With one eye on the fire inspector and the other on her book, 7-year-old Alice Barr was focused on learning how to stay safe if there’s ever a fire nearby.
“I learned when you crawl and test the door, you don’t touch with that part of your hand,” Alice said, gesturing toward her palm.
Testing a door with the back of your hand to see if it’s hot was one of the lessons East Manatee Fire Rescue inspector Nate Young shared with Braden River Elementary School students Thursday. Students from kindergarten through grade three got refresher lessons on how to behave in case of an emergency, got to see different features on a fire truck and got a demo of all the different gear firefighters wear as part of an annual demonstration at the school.
“The bad air’s up high. Can you say that with me,” Young asked a group of second grade students. “Down low, that’s where the good air is.”
As part of the demonstration, Andrew Penry helped demonstrate the proper stop, drop and roll procedure to his fellow classmates. Laying flat on his stomach, with his elbows tucked in and his hands covering his face, Andrew rolled over a few times in each direction.
“We need to keep rolling until the fire’s out,” Young said as Andrew rolled.
“It was fun,” Andrew said, of showing off the move.
Young also told students they and their parents should check the smoke detectors batteries once a month and change them every six months. Young said students could track when the batteries needed to be changed by using the holidays where they get a lot of candy — Easter in the spring and Halloween in the fall.
As a cautionary tale, Young told the story of a family he knew whose smoke detectors weren’t working and they had a fire in their home a few days before Christmas and lost a lot of their decorations and toys. Nobody was injured, but some of the families had lasting effects because they were delayed in evacuating the house.
“The smoke detectors are going to let you know. They’re going to give you time to get out,” Young said.
Annually, the East Manatee Fire Rescue visits the nine elementary schools in the district, focusing on the youngest students.