School Fire Prevention
Fires are a leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among children in the United States. Each year, nearly 500 children die and 40 000 children are injured in fires.
In order to increase community awareness about fire prevention, each year during the month of October, the St. Augustine Fire Department (SAFD) conducts a fire prevention program at daycare and elementary schools. These programs reach thousands of students stressing the importance of home fire escape planning and the need to practice the plan. Most people underestimate fire’s power and speed, and making children aware of the danger is of vital importance.
Fire Escape Planning
We stress that you only have just one or two minutes to escape a typical home fire safely. Home fire escape planning and practice are critical to life safety because they ensure that everyone knows how to use those minutes wisely and escape unharmed. After the instructional program, all the students are invited to check out the fire engine, equipment, and the firefighters’ in their bunker gear.
Specialized Program for Blind & Deaf Students
We also visit the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to educate the students on fire prevention with a more specialized program. The students use their other senses to compensate for their disability.
How the Program Works
With the blind children, we have them listen to the presenter describe the firefighter putting their gear on. We then allowed them to feel what the clothing is like and hear the firefighting breathing through their mask. The deaf children have an interpreter assist the presenter in giving the fire prevention message. At the end of the presentation, the children get to ask questions. We carefully listen to their questions and comments to be sure that they have properly received the information provided.
Fire Prevention Poster Contest
In conjunction with the school fire prevention program, we have been conducting our annual Fire Prevention Poster Contest for our elementary schools since 1974. Each year the students are tasked with creating a fire prevention based poster. Each school selects two posters, one from the 1st and 2nd grade level, and one from the 3rd and 4th grade level. The firefighters then get to vote on all of the posters and decide the two big winners who are dubbed the honorary “Fire Chief” and “Fire Marshal”.
Poster Contest Winners
On the day of the presentations, the winners are picked up in a Fire Engine at their schools and then brought to the fire station where they can see the winning posters framed and hung on the wall of the main fire station for one year. Each winner is presented with a trophy, their name is placed on a permanent plaque which hangs on the fire station wall, and $25 cash for their hard work. They get to hang out with the firefighters for about an hour to slide down the pole, shoot water from the engine, and whatever else they want to do. Then the whole crew takes the winners on the ladder truck from the fire station to Chick-Fil-A for lunch. At the end of the visit, both students are taken back to their schools on the fire engine with their winning prizes.
We also give station tours to various private schools and community groups. If you are interested in a tour, please call our Administrative Coordinator, Vicki Wilder, at 904-825-1098.