Kenai firefighters teach skills that could save a life

Posted: Thursday, October 23, 2008

With just a first-grade education under her belt, Hannah Delker already knows exactly what to do in case of a fire.

Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Kenai Fire Department firefighter Tommy Carver talks about fire safety before students to the trainer.

Required monthly school fire drills in conjunction with fire safety education, provided by the Kenai Fire Department, have given Delker much of her fire safety knowledge.

On Tuesday, KFD firefighter Tommy Carver, along with three other KFD personnel, visited Aurora Borealis Charter School in Kenai for a yearly fire safety refresher course for students.

Carver first spoke to Lori Uponen's second-graders about what to do in case of a fire in school. Exit strategies and having a meeting place were some major topics Carver discussed. The importance of candle safety and practicing fire drills at home was also stressed.

Carver talked with students about never going back into the house for any reason during a fire and to inform their parents or guardians should they find matches in the house.

Carver said home fire drills are discussed with every grade in the school. For kindergartners and first-graders, stop, drop and roll is a primary focus.

Students also experienced a simulation of being in a fire via the KFD's fire safety house.

The house is a two-story trailer used to simulate various fires and has a fog machine to simulate smoke. Students were taught to crawl along the floor if they see smoke and to feel all doors for heat before opening them, said KFD firefighter-paramedic Cory Lehl. In case they are trapped, students were also taught to hang a blanket out of the window to signal their location to firefighters.

"I think it was awesome," said Brock Kant, a second-grader at Aurora, about the fire safety house.

"It was fun because it's like a real fire but you're pretending," Delker said.

The fire safety house also has various windows, each with different latches to teach students how to open all types of windows in the event of a fire, Lehl said.

"The most important thing is giving the students a chance to practice what to do," Uponen said.

Carver said it's important to remind students about fire safety every year.

"We can't put a number on how many lives we might be saving," he said.

Mike Nesper can be reached at

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