Skaneateles firefighters share safety tips

For the last 12 years the Skaneateles Fire Department has been going into the local schools and teaching children some of the most basic information about fire prevention.

On Monday, Chief Eric Sell, Assistant Chief Bob Frank and firefighter Scott Short taught some of those fundamental lessons to Kindergarteners at Belle H. Waterman elementary.

"We're here today because it's Fire Prevention Week," Frank said to the students sitting together on the carpet in Sandra Smith's classroom. "I have some good news and I have some bad news."

The bad news was that there was homework involved, but the good news was that the homework is for parents -- changing the batteries in the smoke detectors at home.

"A lot of times if you start the push with kids, they go home and tell their parents," Frank said. Changing the batteries is important and needs to be done but may not always be a priority, "but if your 5 or 6 year old comes home and tells you to do it" it's a different story.

"I think it makes a difference," Frank said.

The second part of the homework he assigned to the children was to go home and have a fire drill.

"Did you know your teachers always know two ways out?" Frank asked the students. Just like at school, the students should also know two ways out at home. They also should not jump out windows or hide in closets and under beds, Frank said.

Instead, he told the kids as part of their exit drill, they should have a designated and safe meeting place.

"At my house we go to the mailbox ... because it's far away from the house," he said.

To show the class what a firefighter looks like when they are dressed in their firefighting outfits, Short put on his turnout gear -- including his bunker pants and jacket, air pack and his mask.

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