The 2016 National Fire Prevention Week offered Perry-area young people a chance to learn about the properties of fire and the ins and outs of firefighting from members of the Perry Volunteer Fire Department.
First Assistant Fire Chief Brian Eiteman has led the public education and outreach program for 22 years for the Perry Volunteer Fire Department. Demonstrations were given Monday at St. Patrick’s Catholic School, Wednesday at Noah’s Ark Preschool and Perry Child Development Center and Friday at the Perry Elementary School.
Eiteman was assisted in Friday’s instruction by firefighter Pat Eastman.
“Fire Prevention Week gives us a chance to show the tools of our trade, like the hoses and ladders and axes, to the littlest kids,” Eiteman said. “We show them the truck and let them explore it and when we turn on the lights and sirens and horns, they just love it.”
He said the first and second graders also get half-an-hour of basic fire science, with explanations of how fire acts, why we are told to stay close to the floor in a fire and similar facts.
“One of the benefits of the program,” Eiteman said, “is that now these kids will never be afraid of a firefighter when they see one decked out in all our gear.”
Eiteman invited any interested teachers to join him in scaling the department’s 75-foot ladder truck, but no one took him up on the offer, and so he climbed the ladder alone and took a picture from the top of the assembled students below.