Kids learn principles of fire safety

MORGANTOWN — For about 20 years, students at University High School have teamed up with the Morgantown Fire Department (MFD) to teach young children across Monongalia County about fire safety during national Fire Prevention Week.

Using puppets, costumed characters and songs, students from pre-kindergarten to elementary school learn six principles of fire safety, Andy Dotson, public education coordinator for MFD, said.

Those principles include how to use 911, the importance of having fire exit drills, the Stop-Drop-and-Roll procedure and the difference between a good fire, like a campfire, and bad fires, Dotson said.

He estimated the program reaches about 1,000-1,500 students a year.

Many years ago, one of the students watching the presentation was Hailey Varndell.

Now 15, Varndell was a character in Wednesday’s show. She said she volunteered because she enjoyed the program when she was in elementary school.

Jo Yost, a teacher’s assistant at Mason Dixon Elementary School said the show has given students a new perspective on fire safety and teaches them specifics on what to do if they’re ever in a bad situation. She said she looks forward to the show every year and has attended for 18 years.

“This show brings it to life for the students,” Yost said. “The students love it.”

Fire Prevention Week begins Oct. 7, but due to a scheduling conflict the program was moved up a week, Dotson said.

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