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Whately Elementary tries out all the bells and whistles on fire education day

  • Sixth-grader Hailey Hutkoski, 12, sits in the driver’s seat during the first annual Safety Day at Whately Elementary School, Wednesday, June 13. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon—

  • Sixth-grader Dylen Richardson, 12, escapes from a mock-kitchen fire during the first annual Safety Day at Whately Elementary School, Wednesday, June 13. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon

  •  Sixth-grader Samuel Keyes, 11, sits in the driver’s seat of a Whately Fire Department truck during the first annual Safety Day at Whately Elementary School, Wednesday, June 13. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon—

  • Whately Elementary sixth-graders, from left to right, Dylen Richardson, 12, Krista Uzdavinis, 12, Hailey Hutkoski, 12, and Samuel Keyes, 11, learn about the fire truck during the first Safety Day at the school. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon

  • Whately Fire Chief John Hannum talks to a group of sixth graders during the first annual Safety Day at Whately Elementary School, Wednesday, June 13. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon—

  • Whately Fire Captain J.P. Kennedy talks to a group of sixth graders about kitchen fires during the first annual Safety Day at Whately Elementary School, Wednesday, June 13. Recorder Staff/Joshua Solomon—



Recorder Staff
Thursday, June 14, 2018

WHATELY — With a stove fire ready to break out, the 12-year-olds took a moment to discuss its potential based on the fire tetrahedron. There was heat, there was fuel and there was oxygen, which meant the likelihood of a blaze was high, they explained to Whately Fire Department Capt. J.P. Kennedy.

With that information, the students took the appropriate measures, including putting to work the slogan, “Get low; get out; stay out.”

There was never any threat of a real fire, but during this demonstration Wednesday at the first Safety Day at Whately Elementary School, students got the chance to learn from first responders about responding to at-risk situations.

“The point of everything is to set up the kids for better decisions throughout their life,” said Kennedy, who organized the day on behalf of the Whately Fire Department. The captain noted that these are lessons children can take home to the adults in their lives and teach them, too.

Bringing together the Whately fire and police departments, South County EMS, the Massachusetts DOT Bicycle Safety Program and representation from Smokey Bear, Kennedy was able to give the students of the elementary school a chance to better understand useful safety tips.

Lessons ranged from simple tips for kindergartners to more elevated concepts about the science of fire for the fifth- and sixth-graders.

Sixth-grader Samuel Keyes, 11, said he learned about using the back of your hand on a door to feel for heat and that water can’t put out a grease fire. He wore a big smile while sitting behind the steering wheel of the fire truck.

“It was all rolled into having fun while learning,” said Louise Law, director of elementary education for the district, who was at the school all day. “I couldn’t imagine it being done any better.”

Law was particularly pleased with both the hands-on learning and that the first responders took time to be there.

“To have a real firefighter acting out what to do in a real event was a great learning experience that they will remember,” Law said.

And it’s that interaction with the first responders that was likewise key for Kennedy while he was organizing the event.

“I think it’s important for the students to know who their officers are in their communities,” Kennedy said. “One of the benefits of a small community is, they know who their emergency responders are.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264