SHADYSIDE - Every year during the month of October, fire departments focus on the importance of fire safety and teaching young children to respect fire and how to stay safe around it.
This year, Fire Prevention Week begins Sunday and runs through Friday, Oct. 12.
Each year since 1922, when a prevention week was designated, a theme is selected by the Fire Safety Council. This year's theme is "Two Ways Out."
One thing that Shadyside Fire Chief Dave Lenz wants to impart to children everywhere is that they should not be afraid of the firefighters that come to their rescue.
They should never hide. The firefighters are there for their protection.
To emphasis this point, members of the Shadyside Fire Department will pay a visit to Miss Syd's Nursery School in town, dressed in full turnout gear, to allow the kids the opportunity to see and hear what they may have to rely on one day to save their lives.
"We want to show that the firefighters are someone friendly, someone that they might know," Lenz said.
One thing Lenz wants to ensure the kids have an opportunity to hear is the noise made by the air packs. He describes it as sounding somewhat like a monster.
Giving the kids a chance to hear this noise teaches them to listen for the sound. That way, if they are in need of assistance during a fire, they will know that someone who can help is close by.
Other lessons the kids are taught throughout the week including locating the escape exits of a house, having a meeting place outside to ensure everyone has gotten out safely and also the 'Stop, Drop and Roll' technique.
Along with paying a visit to Miss Syd's, the Shadyside Fire Department will host kindergarten students from Jefferson Avenue Elementary.
Van Dyne may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org