Fritsch Elementary students learn fire safety the fun way | NevadaAppeal.com

Fritsch Elementary students learn fire safety the fun way

by Maggie O'Neill

Christi Donaldson, 6, knocks a bucket off a table about 10 feet away at Fritsch Elementary School with the assistance of Nevada Division of Forestry firefighter Micah Horton at the Carson City school on Friday morning. Below, Fritsch students watch to see how far Horton can spray water from the hose at the school Friday. BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal

It’s not what they don’t know when it comes to fire. It’s what they do know – now.

First-graders at Fritsch Elementary School learned about fire safety Friday from 20 Nevada Division of Forestry firefighters who brought a water tender, four brush engineers and a fire safety trailer with them to the school.

Seasonal firefighter Micah Horton showed students how to shoot water from a hose, and then asked students if they were up to the task.

“Is anyone ready to spray water?” he asked.

With a firefighter standing at their side, each student sprayed water at a plastic container painted with flames about 15 feet away.

Horton even demonstrated the difference between a straight stream and a fog stream, which prevents heat from getting too close.

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“Sorry,” he said to the sound of giggles. “I didn’t mean to get you guys wet.”

As students rotated through five stations Friday morning, they climbed inside a water tender, escaped through a window in the fire safety trailer, learned to stop, drop and roll and watched a firefighter put on gear from his boots to his helmet.

Students even had their pictures taken with Smokey Bear, who turned 60 Saturday.

“The kids, who are in second grade and younger, are the most receptive to Smokey Bear,” said Mike Klug, an NDOF battalion chief. “We do a lot of schools and day-care centers and October is very busy because this is fire-prevention month.”

“Kids are really perceptive these days,” said Horton. “It’s not too hard to understand not to play with matches.”

In one of the first-grade classrooms, firefighter Mark Regan spoke about fire gear, as another firefighter, Fuzzy, put on boots, pants known as turn-outs, a coat, a hood, air pack, mask, helmet and gloves.

“The helmet is to protect our heads,” Regan said. “Sometimes when you’re crawling around you’ll bump your head a lot.”

Once Fuzzy was fully dressed and breathing with an oxygen tank, he talked through his mask. Students said he was hard to hear.

Fuzzy sounded the distress alarms he could use if he were in danger, causing some student’s hands to fly to their ears.

Then Fuzzy crawled around the floor with students following behind in a line.

“You want to keep on touching the person in front of you so you know where they are,” Regan said. “Firemen are going to take you to safety, so always follow the firemen out.”

Contact reporter Maggie O’Neill at mo’neill@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1219.