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Fighting Fires With Safety, Awareness

Upper Macungie Fire Station No. 56 presents program to Jaindl Elementary School students Tuesday

The smoke came from the ceiling and engulfed the room, overcoming the children huddled together.

But for these students at the, the smoke is just an exercise stressing the importance of .

Members of the Upper Macungie presented a program at the school Tuesday to show students tips on how to avoid a fire and offer pointers about what they need to do to be safe if they ever experience one.

"It's neat and it's important," said Brenna McKinley, a 10-year-old 5th grader. "I've never dealt with a fire at home, but I'm learning a lot of important things about fires."

Fire Chief Leroy Gross and his crew brought a fire truck and a safety house to help illustrate and simulate fires and the importance of raising awareness. Gross told children that they need to make sure their parents change the batteries twice a year on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – the best he said is when you change the clocks.

He taught them how to call 911, stay safe around stoves, feel walls for heat, and make sure they have established a place to go outside to meet family members if there's a fire.

"We've been doing this for years," Upper Macungie Township Supervisor Edward J. Earley said. "The program is very positive. Parents appreciate it and the kids are sensitive to it. They know that you could possibly save a life by learning about this."

Gross had one class in a room where there was a fake oven. He told the students that they should check to make sure it's not used for storage inside. Gross also instructed students to make sure that pans aren't sticking out.

He then showed them the red fire alarm, how to take off the plastic cover and how to pull it down so a loud alarm goes off.

Children asked numerous questions, everything from how smoke detectors make chirping sounds when the batteries are dying to how to get out of a basement if there's a fire.

In a second room in the safety house, students felt how hot a door can get if there's dire and learned to put clothes and blankets underneath the door to keep the smoke out.

But when the smoke filled the room, the students didn't need to panic.  They were safe. They were in a safety house, knowing that next time might be different

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