Tours teach students about firefighters and fire safety |

Tours teach students about firefighters and fire safety

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Carson City firefighter Brad Mihelic helps Garrett Watkins, 5, spray a fire hose Wednesday at Station No. 1 as part of the Firehouse Experience. Students from Fritsch Elementary School were part of some 700 Carson City children who will visit the fire station during October, which is Fire Prevention Month.

Seven hundred of Carson City’s tiniest residents are getting a first-hand look at the life of a firefighter during Fire Prevention Month.

Through Oct. 21, Carson City students from kindergarten to third grade will visit Fire Station No. 1 on Stewart Street to learn fire safety tips, tour the firefighters quarters, climb on board fire trucks and try their hand at handling a hose.

On Wednesday a class of Fritsch Elementary School kindergartners filled the fire department.

After firefighter Scott O’Brien showed the teeny spectators how quickly he could put on his gear, firefighter Chad Midgley asked the group, “Do you know why we wear all these clothes?”

Five-year-old Abbi Hubert was quick to raise her hand with an answer Midgley hadn’t counted on. “So you look like a fireman!”

Split up into groups of five, the children visited four stations in the course of an hour.

Fire Inspector Lee Anne Horton had classroom time with the kids where she showed them how to stop, drop and roll, crawl under the smoke and feel a door to check if it’s hot.

Midgley and O’Brien gave them a tour of where firefighters slept, where they ate and where they watched television.

Tom Tartuli, the department’s public education instructor, said the children reacted to being able to hold the fire hose. With firefighter Brad Mihelic holding it steady, the kids would turn the water on, aim the hose and knock cones and balls off overturned buckets.

“I thought they’d be really afraid of the water, but even the littlest girl rushed over to try it,” Tartuli said.

Even though the information was invaluable, little Abbi knew what was most important. Near the end of the tour, when the group was asked if anyone had questions, the outgoing girl said she did.

“Will we get hats?” she asked.

Abbi and her classmates went home with plastic fire hats.

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.