KFD holds open house to educate children on fire safety
Kinston firefighter Jason Lee talks to a class from Marvin B. Spence Head Start Center Tuesday during the National Fire Prevention Week Open House at Kinston Fire Station 1. Photo by Junious Smith III / Neuse News
National Fire Prevention Week is in full effect at Kinston Fire Station 1.
Throughout the week, the building will house an event for children about fire safety with numerous activities for children. The event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., has 10 stations, including a puppet show, the opportunity to meet members of Lenoir County Emergency Services and visit the new Inflatable Safety House.
The Kinston Department of Fire and Rescue teamed up with Lenoir County Emergency Services, Bojangles, the International Rotary Club and Lenoir County Safe Kids to purchase the house with no cost to the city.
Kinston Fire Captain W.J. Barss III said more than 800 children are slated to visit throughout the week — mostly in the pre-kindergarten to first-grade range — and said having the setup at the station has proven to be more beneficial than previous endeavors.
“We used to go to the schools and have a firefighter dress up, but here there’s more interaction,” Barss said. “The kids are about to learn more about the gear, there’s more energy and they have the opportunity to see firefighters in their element. With so many activities, we’re able to help deliver the message of fire safety even clearer and have these young children excited about making sure they’re safe — passing off the message to their friends and families as well.”
Southeast Elementary School first-grader Kaydence Rodriguez said she liked the activities.
“We got to spray the fire hose, see the dog and play inside of the (inflatable) fire house,” Rodriguez said.
Tymel Rouse, Rodriguez’ classmate, said he liked other parts of the event.
“We went to see the ambulance, police cars and fire trucks,” Rouse said.
Retired Kinston Fire Chief David Ricke volunteered at the event, bringing his dalmation, Truckie, to the event to do tricks for the children. Ricke said he appreciated the education and entertainment factors.
“This is nice because it provides a good link of communication from the firefighters to the children and the breakdown is much better when it comes to giving them information about safety,” Ricke said.
The North Carolina Forest Service was also in attendance, providing information to children about the dangers of forest fires. Larry Welch, a forest fire equipment operator with the organization, said it was all about covering bases in and out of the area.
“We wanted to give the kids info about forest fires and the measures they can take to prevent them in North Carolina,” Welch said. “We also showed them some of the equipment we used to do our jobs.”
Overall, Southeast Elementary first-grade teacher Victoria Brown said it was a wonderful experience for her class.
“They’re not really exposed to anything like this, and it really helped in the message of fire safety,” Brown said.