FORT WAYNE — None of them had ever made a 911 phone call or dropped out of a second-floor window. Now the third-grade students of Whitley County have done so.
That is thanks to Capts. Dave Meadows and Carlos Gomez of the Fort Wayne Fire Department. Capt. Meadows lives in South Whitley.
The students recently completed their visit to the Fort Wayne Fire Department’s Safety Village and Survive Alive House in Fort Wayne.
“We bring our classes here every year, and I learn something new each time,” said Susan Fricke, teacher at Northern Heights Elementary School.
The captains were quick to show the students how to safely get out of a two-story window.
“This is a 13-foot ladder. If your bedroom is on the second floor it is best you have one,” said Capt. Meadows.
Abbi Schrader used the “hang and drop” technique to get on the ladder and safely climbed down to the ground.
Then all of the students went to the upstairs of the two story home and learned how to feel around the door for heat.
“Proceed through on your hands and knees and crawl,” said Capt. Meadows.
“Crawl down the stairs backwards. Stay low to the ground”
Capt. Gomez explained to the students the importance of staying calm during a fire.
“Get out quickly and go to your planned meeting place, but remain calm,” said Gomez.
“Our job is to fight the fire, and with you at your planned meeting place we don’t have to rescue you.”
Then it was time for each student to pretend there was a fire and to call 911. Some students were nervous because they had never done that.
“I couldn’t remember my mom’s number. I was so scared,” said Riley Bunyan.
Capt. Gomez was quick to assure Bunyan.
“I’ve seen people who have lived in their homes for 20 years and not remember their addresses,” said Capt. Gomez. “It’s okay. The most important thing to be is calm. The emergency operator is trained to help you.”
The fire fighters reminded the children to bug their parents about checking the smoke alarms once per month and to change the batteries every six months.
The fire fighters told the students five facts of a fire.
It’s dark. It’s hard to see in a fire.
There are smoke and gases. The lower you are to the ground is better.
The heat is intense.
Time may be your biggest enemy. There is no time in a fire. You must get out quickly.
It’s necessary to have working smoke detectors in your house.
The Survive Alive House and Safety Village is the largest facility in the United States.
The Safety Village is available for all ages and a special kindergarten program is available.