But the elementary school students knew what to do; they got on their knees and crawled to the nearest exit. Then they went to their designated “safe spot” — behind the smoke trailer.
“It kinda smelled like honey,” said Pleasant Elementary third-grader Tessa Campbell.
“It felt like it was really foggy and I couldn’t see much,” added the 8-year-old daughter of Murt and Libby. “It kinda got me a little dizzy.”
Some classmates complained that the “smoke” smelled nasty.
“It did smell bad,” said Kingston Gonzales, the 9-year-old son of Dez.
He said the smoke didn’t make him cough or panic, but the situation in the smoke trailer felt realistic.
During Fire Prevention Week, the Norwalk Fire Department has been hosting assemblies and having students experience the smoke trailer at the public and Catholic elementary schools and preschools. Look for two photo galleries of the events at Norwalk Catholic School and Pleasant Elementary on www.norwalkreflector.com.
Firefighter Chris Dowdell stressed the importance of smoke detectors with working batteries.
“These (batteries) have to be changed every six months,” he said. “It (the detector) literally sniffs for smoke.”
Another important fire safety tip is creating an escape plan. Dowdell told the students they need to put their street address on the floor plan and make sure there are two ways to get out of each room.
“It could be a front door, a window or side door,” he said.
The Pleasant students immediately knew the answer to responding to their clothes catching on fire: Stop, drop and roll.
“It’s important if you have an emergency that you know your address,” Dowdell also told the children.
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Here are the key campaign messages for this year’s Fire Prevention Week:
• Draw a map of your home by using a grid in English with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
• Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home and practice using different ways out.
• Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
• Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
• Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire.
• Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.
SOURCE: National Fire Protection Association website (www.nfpa.org)