City Park School students in prekindergarten and kindergarten received fire safety tips from perhaps the best source possible Monday as members of the Dalton Fire Department visited the school.
"It's nice to be back and give kids this, and a lot of adults get stuff out of these (presentations), too, like keeping doors closed at night," said Brent Newton, a member of the Dalton Fire Department for 13 years. "We run more fires than people know, and an interior door will buy you at least 30 minutes in a house fire" if kept closed.
"Close doors while you sleep, because it keeps smoke from coming into your room" in the event of a fire, Newton told the students. "If the door is hot, keep it closed, stay in your room, stay low, and stay in the middle of the floor. If it's cool, crack it open and look, stay low, and get outside."
Newton gave students a "homework assignment," he said. "Go home tonight and establish a meeting place outside with your family" that can serve as a rallying point in case of emergency.
Prekindergarten and kindergarten classes have been discussing "community" recently, and the fire department is a critical element of the community, said Hannah Talley, City Park's media specialist. It's also Fire Prevention Week, so it's an ideal time to focus on "how to be safe in our houses and community."
"If you don't have (a smoke detector) at home, we need to get one in there," Newton told the students. "These save lives."
Newton, Bucky Strickland and Lt. Bobby Maton also showed off a firetruck and firefighting equipment.
"We carry a lot of stuff on a truck," from bolt cutters, sledgehammers and the "Jaws of Life rescue tool" to hoses, ladders and axes, Maton said. There's even a "rope for water rescues."
"All firefighting gear is made of three layers to keep us safe," including the "same hood as race car drivers" wear, and the gear weighs "about 80 pounds," Newton said. A firefighter helmet is longer in the back than the front so "water runs off the back," rather than into their coats.
Dalton is blessed with "lots of fire hydrants everywhere, and water supply is not an issue" when battling blazes, he said. "We're really lucky in the city."
Kindergarten teacher Lauren Cozart planned to incorporate the experience with the firefighters into writing and art assignments for the rest of the week with her students, she said.
"This is an experience they shared together, and then they share it with their families."
The visit from the firefighters "gets kids connected to the community," which is "especially important during" the COVID-19 pandemic, as "we're not allowed to do field trips, so it's great they could come here," Cozart added. "It's exciting for them (the students) to do something different — they were excited about it this morning — and they'll take what they learned back to their families so they can all be safe."