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Hays students learn a lesson in fire safety




Stop, drop and roll.

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Stop, drop and roll.

Julie Brown's first-graders at Wilson Elementary School knew just what to do if their clothes catch fire.

They and the other Wilson first- and second-graders learned about fire prevention and safety from members of the Hays Fire Department on Wednesday morning.

The firefighters are visiting the Hays USD 489 elementary schools this week with a safety trailer giving presentations and demonstrations as part of fire prevention week.

"It's a good age," Capt. Ryan Hagans said of the first- and second-graders. "They have the attitude they want to learn."

The firefighters visit the schools every year, so they have at least two opportunities to reinforce the lessons.

Families should have a meeting place -- such as a tree or mailbox -- outside the house, firefighter Tyler Brungardt told the students.

That way if firefighters are called, adults know everyone is out of the house and safe.

"Mom and dad worry about you. They love you. We care about you, too," Brungardt said. "We want to make sure you guys are safe."

After learning about fire safety in the kitchen, students had a chance to practice a fire escape plan including checking a door for heat with the back of the hand.

"It's just pretend smoke," Brungardt said as theatrical smoke was released into the trailer.

One by one, the students got on all fours and crawled out of the room.

Their final task was to use an escape ladder to climb out a window and escape from the trailer.

If they are trapped inside a building on fire, the youngsters were told to throw something out the window so firemen see it.

"When we get there, we're going to walk around that whole house and kind of formulate a game plan," Brungardt said.

Firefighters would see the toy or object and look for someone inside.

Though they often are part of the family, Brungardt warned students not to return to a building to rescue pets. They often have keener senses than humans.

"They're going to be able to sense something's wrong even before you will. They might be out already," Brungardt said.

"If they're not, let us know. That's our job to go in there and find them."