OTTAWA — Stop drop and roll, having an escape plan and meeting place in instances of a fire were skills students at Ottawa and Glandorf elementary schools learned Friday.
Fire personnel from Ottawa Volunteer Fire Department visited Ottawa Elementary School students, and Glandorf Volunteer Fire Department firefighters made a stop at Glandorf Elementary School.
This week was Fire Prevention Week, and the month of October is Fire Prevention Month.
Dan Rieman, Ottawa Volunteer Fire Department chief, and firefighters from the department educated students on fire safety for grades kindergarten through fourth. They presented students with junior firefighter hats, water bottles and bags.
In addition to Ottawa Elementary School, the department visited all of the preschools in Ottawa and SS. Peter and Paul this week.
“Since we started doing this program we have not had any children injuries or deaths from fires,” Rieman said. He said the fire prevention program in the schools started in Ottawa in 1959 after there were two children who were killed in a fire on South Oak Street in Ottawa.
He said he wants students to learn not to be afraid of firefighters, have knowledge of how to get out of the house in instances of a fire and crawl under smoke.
Rieman also explained to students that their parents should replace batteries in smoke detectors twice a year, when the time changes.
Erica Verhoff, Ottawa Elementary School kindergarten teacher, said the school does fire drills once a month to practice getting out of the building safely.
“We talk about how to prevent fires in the home such as not playing with candles and not leaving the stove unattended at home,” Verhoff said. They also are educated on how the firefighters’ uniforms keeps firefighters safe and the tools they use to help them fight fires.
At Glandorf Elementary, students watched a fire safety video during an assembly and experienced firefighters put on their safety gear. There was a poster contest where students made fire safety drawings grades first through fifth and there were three winners per grade. Each winner received a candy bar and was recognized during the assembly.
Thomas Nienberg, Glandorf firefighter, said the goal is to teach students how to prevent fires and keep them safe.
“We would like to make sure students understand how catastrophic fires can be if they get out of hand,” Nienberg said.
The video that was shown addressed making sure there are at least one smoke alarm on all floors of a home, changing batteries in smoke alarm every year and checking the batteries every month.
Students were taught to have two escape plans if a fire occurs, to get low and go, as well as not hiding from firefighters and not worrying about their toys and pets. They also were educated on calling 9-1-1 during an emergency and knowing their address and phone number.
Scott Ketner, Glandorf Elementary School principal, said his father Ed Ketner is on the reserve list for the Glandorf Fire Department. He has memories of firefighters coming to school at Ottawa Elementary when he was a student.
“Fire safety is so important because we want the kids to understand if something was to happen that they have a safe meeting place and evacuation plan,” Ketner said.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.