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Skaneateles firefighters share safety tips

"You can hardly hear me," Short said to the class after putting his mask on.

While he was getting dressed, Frank took volunteers and dressed them up in his gear. The first to be chosen was birthday girl Madison Steen who wore Frank's bunker pants.

Hooked to each firefighter's helmet are two tags, which are used for accountability. When a firefighter enters a burning building, one tag is left by the front door and the other is left in the truck.

"That way we know he went into that smoky house," Frank said. "We never leave our friends inside the house."

Following the classroom instruction, Frank, Short and Sell took the students outside to see the fire truck they brought with them. Going around the truck, Frank told the children what the equipment was used for and pulled one of the hoses down for them to see.

"We have lots of special tools," Frank said. "You never go into a fire without your tools."

In Skaneateles, the department responds to an average of three structure fires a year, Sell said. If a fire is too much for just the Skaneateles Fire Department to put out, mutual aid departments also respond. Mutual aid comes from Mottville, Marcellus, Sennett and other surrounding communities, Frank said.

According to Frank, the most crucial moments of a fire are the first five minutes.

"What happens in the first five minutes of a fire determines what we'll do for the next fire hours," he said.

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