Fire department in Iowa makes Fire Prevention Week memorable for the kids

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By Lisa Braxton

Sparky’s® Coloring Book is a big hit with the children of Nevada, Iowa. That’s because a coloring activity conducted during Fire Prevention Week offers them the possibility of a visit to their favorite restaurant and a ride to school in a fire truck.

Last year, the Nevada Fire Department, in partnership with the Nevada Community School District, sponsored a coloring contest using a page from Sparky’s Coloring Book. Close to 400 kids in grades 1 through 5 at Central Elementary School participated. Seven winners were chosen. A fire truck pulled up to their homes and they were taken to McDonald’s restaurant on their way to school for a free cookie and juice.

“Many times the kids do not tell their parents about the contest,” says Nevada Fire Department Director of Fire and EMS Ray Reynolds. “I am not sure who screams the loudest, the kids or the mothers. We do it all in the same day and it caps off our FPW activities with a good feeling for everyone.”

He says that during Fire Prevention Week firefighters speak to individual classrooms for 40 minutes about “get low and go” under smoke, smoke alarm awareness, drawing an escape plan, seeing firefighters as community helpers, and other safety Sparky's Coloring Bookslessons. He says the coloring activity and the potential of riding in style aboard a fire truck help to reinforce the safety messaging.

“I have had so many experiences where kids have survived a fire using techniques the fire department taught them,” says Reynolds. “If you are selected to ride to school in a fire engine, you are more likely to remember what the fire department taught. Months later, I still get kids that say, ‘I remember you in the school teaching.’ ”

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Source:: NFPA – Safety Information


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