Stop, Drop, and Roll—It’s Fire Prevention Week!
Each year during National Fire Prevention Week in October, representatives from the D.C. Fire Department come to Kendall Demonstration Elementary School (KDES) to promote fire safety and prevention.
"How do you protect yourself in a fire?" Patricia Everett, fire education information specialist from the District of Columbia Fire Department, asked a group of KDES students during one of the fire prevention activities held in the school gym on October 14.
"Stop, drop, and roll," one student responded enthusiastically. "Good, but there is a step missing before that," said Everett. She showed how to first cover one's face with one's hands before going into the roll and then had the student come forward to demonstrate it. Everett quizzed the students on their knowledge of how and when to evacuate from a building and when to stay in place-sometimes the safest option at home she said is to close the door and stay in a room with a window and wait to be rescued.
A group of students volunteered to role play how a family would safely evacuate from in their house in the event of a fire. The "family" successfully crawled out of the burning house and gathered at their designated meeting place. "Everybody here?" "No!" "Kelly's missing." "Should we go back into the house to get her?" "No, we'll tell the fire fighters and they will go back into the house to rescue her."
Other activities included learning about one of the most famous fires in history and a challenging race to don firefighter's protective clothing in record time. Grades 3-8 had a presentation on the Great 1906 Fire in San Francisco that followed a massive earthquake, in which over 3,000 people were killed, a disaster comparable to Hurricane Katrina in its devastation. The students could personally relate to the earthquake part of the story after having a 5. 8 point magnitude earthquake happen in Washington, D.C., on August 23, the second day of this school year! The morning ended with "The Great Race" with sixth to eighth grade students setting up two teams, with one half of each group lined up on opposite sides of the gym. Each student at the head of the line donned a fire fighter's outfit-boots, pants, jacket, and helmet-then ran across to other side, took off the equipment and the next person took over. There was much laughter and tumbling as the students struggled with heavy protective clothing and weighty helmets. The students gained a new appreciation for what it must be like to do your job wearing a uniform that weighs over sixty pounds!