Fire Prevention Month Dedicated to Safety Education
To celebrate Fire Prevention Month, this October Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department is continuing a longstanding tradition of fire safety and prevention education.
“I’ve been here ten years and the fire prevention has always been a big thing,” said Erik Jonas, Fire Prevention Coordinator. “It used to be one week in October, but we’ve made made it a whole month because there’s so much and it’s so important.”
For many years, fire prevention education involved firefighters dressing up as clowns and performing skits for local students. Starting last year, staff decided to revamp the program to involve more of the department and provide a more personal approach for children.
“During this month, we are all out in the schools, both public and parochial. We will be speaking in front of about 2500 kids in three weeks,” said Jonas. “Along with the fire safety message that we do, we use this as a chance to interact with the kids. We have good conversations on all ends.”
Revolving around the NFPA fire safety theme, this year’s theme is “Know two ways out of your home.” Firefighters also educate on bike safety, fire safety, and general seasonal safety.
“It’s kind of age-based,” said Jonas. “We see kids starting at the 3K level all the way up to the 6th grade level.”
With the younger children, Jonas’ goal is to familiarize them with the firefighters so they trust them in the event of an emergency.
“We show them our gear, put on our gear. Have them look at us and touch us and let them hear what we sound like and look like,” said Jonas. “It’s a chance for them to get familiar if, god forbid, we have to help them in a fire.”
With the older students, the firefighters have more open conversations, allowing them to ask questions and share concerns.
“What I enjoyed last year is we got to have open conversation and get them to express themselves a little bit and ask questions as to how they can be champions of their own safety,” said Jonas.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in safety-related contests, such as coloring contests for the younger students and video contests for the older students, with the chance to win items such as a bike or waterpark passes.
Beyond the classroom, Jonas and the department enjoy educating the community through events such as Get Fired Up For Safety.
“We are looking to promote community wide participation this month. This whole month could be a platform for the community to get involved and come together,” said Jonas. “We are a public entity, a business of the public, and it’s our duty to serve them in any capacity, not just in an emergency. I really view the fire department as an active part of the community. That’s why I feel it’s important for the department to be involved in anything we can be. It’s important for us to be visible, accessible for everybody.”
“It’s a chance for us to step out into the community and really spend a lot more time with the people that we serve out there,” he added. “In our daily lives, we are called to citizens on their worst day. This gives us a chance to communicate with them in a low-stress way.”
With a significant part of their job associated with prevention and safety, Marshfield Fire & Rescue staff are dedicated to October’s Fire Safety Month activities.
“Fire prevention and safety – safety in general – is what we do. We are invested in the lives of the people in our community, in their safety and overall health and wellbeing. Everyone in the group has a passion for the people and public. They are good speakers and presenters.”