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From the Editor’s Notebook:

By Staff | Oct 13, 2019

It was Fire Prevention and Safety Week last week.

Did you notice? Did you do anything to celebrate it?

There are some traditional things many folks do during the week.

One is to check all the smoke alarms in their house. Some people just automatically change the batteries in the smoke alarms each year during this week.

And if you don’t have any smoke alarms in your house, well, you really need to have some.

Another good idea is to have a family meeting and talk about what to do during a fire. That mainly has to do with planning an escape route, and where to meet up outside at a specific location, or at a neighbor’s house. That way you will know if all your family members are accounted for.

Another good thing would be to thank a volunteer fireman for being willing to be a volunteer fireman. You probably know one or two of them. They are probably your neighbors or co-workers.

The Blue Earth Fire Department (and others in the county) also celebrate Fire Prevention and Safety Week (or just Fire Week, for short) in special ways.

First off, last Tuesday they picked up some kids from home in a fire truck, took them to Blue Earth Hometown Restaurant for breakfast, then a fire truck ride to school.

The firemen had a booth at the county fair last summer, and kids could enter their name in a drawing for the special ride to school in a fire truck during Fire Week.

Sounds simple right? Well, things did not exactly as planned.

First off, it was going to be two kids’ names drawn. But you know, if you draw one name, and they have a brother and sister, you might as well give all three a ride, right? And if you draw a name of a kid who isn’t quite in school yet, you might as well give him a ride from home to the restaurant and back home again.

That is just what happened.

Second, as fireman Ryan Vereide got the truck ready to go pick up the kids, guess what happened? You got it. He got a fire call to a business in the industrial park. So he had to call in backup, in the form of fireman Andrew Willner, to go get the kids and take them to the restaurant.

And third, the kids they were giving a ride to go to Genesis Classical Academy in Winnebago, and with all the delays, they might have been just a tad late to school that day.

But what an excuse. Instead of the dog ate my homework, they can blame tardiness on the fire truck being late.

The Blue Earth firemen, as you can see in the photos on page 2 this week, also had all the Blue Earth Area kindergartners come to the fire hall for a tour.

The kids got to learn all about the trucks and gear, and what a fireman does exactly. One interesting point was that they don’t live at the fire hall. They live at their own homes and just race to the fire hall to get ready to go to a fire call.

Probably the most important thing during the visit was to watch one of the firemen put on all his uniform and gear, and transform from a regular looking man into this big fireman wearing a mask and helmet and sounding like Darth Vader with his breathing apparatus.

The message, of course, was to tell the kids not to run and hide under their beds, but instead run towards this big scary looking fireman because he is there to help you.

The other point was learning how to stay low in a fire and crawl out of the smoke filled room.

The firemen had a special smoke making machine that filled a room at the fire hall full of non-toxic smoke.

Then the firemen led the kids into and out of the room, while crawling on their hands and knees. They had a good time doing it, too, as you can see by the smiles on their faces in the photos.

One thing I found fascinating was the new camera which can see into the smoke-filled room and locate objects and people.

Oh yeah, there also was that other thing the firemen did for the students. The kids all got to ride back to school on the fire trucks.

Members of the fire department went to other places which have kids, including Little Giants Child Care Center, spreading this same message.

That is how our local volunteer firemen celebrate Fire Week.

So, even though Fire Prevention and Safety Week is officially over, it is never too late to say thanks to those who volunteer a whole lot of their time for training, maintenance and, of course, firefighting when called upon.

It is great to have them around, if you ever happen to need them to come help sometime.

And now I have to quit writing this column and go check my smoke alarms.