Fire drill in Sunnyside
The sirens wailed, the horns blew and the kids covered their ears.
The room filled with smoke and the door swung open. There was a fire fighter in full fire fighting mode ready to rescue them.
On that Friday morning at Petersen Elementary School in Sunnyside, it was not business as usual. However it wasn't a fire that changed the schedule at the school but a drill of sorts; held in a special trailer that was created to teach kids how to avoid various dangers from electrical shock to poison ingestion to a fire in their homes or school.
The trailer, one of several the state fire marshal's department owns, travels from place to place, school to school, showing kids how to be safe. It is manned by local fire fighters, who put on quite a show.
The fire crews gave a tour of their trucks inside and out. The students were not only able to see what was behind every door and cabinet on the vehicles but they also got to crawl through the cabs, blow the horns and sit at the steering wheel.
Next a fire fighter in full gear approached them. Some of the children were fascinated, others were scared. The fire fighter inside talked to them through his self contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) so the children could hear his Darth Vader type voice.
Then the children were ushered into the trailer where they were in a small selF-contained home environment with all it's dangers. After one fire fighter went over hazards like touching fireplaces and hot curling irons, the room began to fill with special smoke. The children laid on the floor and in through another door came the fire fighter with his full equipment to rescue them, handing them out the window to another crew member.
Every class from Petersen, including pre-school to sixth grade, went through the trailer that day. For little ones it was a lesson in knowing who fire fighters are if they appear in their house one smoke filled night. The men in the funny masks, big hats and humongous boots are there to help not scare.
For the older ones it was a reminder of how to handle a fire in their homes and the other hazards they may face.
For everyone, including the fire fighters, it was a lot of fun.