GREENE—Earlier this month, Greene Intermediate and Primary schools received a visit from members of the Greene Fire Department (GFD) as part of an annual observance of National Fire Safety and Prevention week. Each year, schools around the country host local fire departments to provide safety education in public schools to students.
These presentations are twofold: familiarizing youngsters to the importance of fire safety while providing students face time with local first responders as a community building initiative.
The GSC event was organized by retired educator Bernie McDermott of GFD. The annual rite of passage convenes each fall during the week of October 9th in honor of the great Chicago fire of 1871. With the assistance of three of the Department’s volunteer firefighters, students were educated on the basics of fire science with lessons exploring the three necessary components of fire: oxygen, fuel, and an ignition source—the group lesson even included a controlled fire demonstration to illustrate how these components interact with each other.
“Students were very engaged and eager to learn from us,” said McDermott. “And our three volunteers that participated in the presentation were just as excited to be able to share their years of experience with them.”
In addition, students were guided through fire trucks, getting a first-hand look at apparatus and equipment first responders use when tackling emergency operations.
“Our crew interacted face-to-face with students in SCBA and full turnout gear to acquaint them with what could be unfamiliar and frightening in a high stress emergency situation,” said McDermott. “Understanding how our equipment operates on a basic level and having exposure to firefighters in full dress could be a lifesaving experience for children. “We really try our best to teach them to not be afraid when presented with the sight of fully-outfitted firefighters, children will often try to hide” [which could be disastrous].
At the conclusion of the event, students were rewarded with their very own red fireman's cap as a token of their participation.
GCS Superintendent Timothy Calice acknowledged the importance of collaborative presentations that benefit students and the Greene community as a whole. “Anytime the District has the opportunity to host events that bring organizations and members of our community to join in the instruction of our students, it meets our guiding mission: to be a model school; providing flexible and nurturing environments that leverage innovation, and collaboration in our pursuit to foster student growth and learning,” said Calice. “In addition to that, having the opportunity to work closely with the men and women that work to make our community a better place reinforces quality relationships.”
McDermott said at least one member of his group of volunteers came during work hours from the Raymond Corporation, adding that Raymond has a strong history of allowing employees to engage in volunteer and community service opportunities such as this.
Echoing Calice, McDermott said “Greene Fire Department is more than just a “fire department,” and taking time out to teach children is more than just about fire safety, it’s also about building relationships.”