What is the correct height for students to be in a booster seat? How do you get out of a smoke-filled home? Why should you wear a bike helmet? Students in the second grade at Bloomfield Hills Schools are discovering the answers to these questions through classroom presentations by firefighters from the Bloomfield Township Fire Department. The lessons are part of an overall focus on critical safety areas.
According to the BTFD, the program uses the National Fire Protection Association’s Risk Watch curriculum, along with the Bloomfield Township Fire Safety Trailer and Model-Tech Hazard House for demonstrations. Over the years this program has won several awards.
Following the presentation, students went over what they had learned. “I didn’t know why you had to be quiet on the bus,” said Vanessa Williams (grade 2), explaining it was so the “bus driver can hear everyone behind them.”
Eli Bielecki (grade 2) also gained some new information during the vehicle safety presentation. “I learned that you should be at least 5 feet to not be in the booster seat and to sit in the front seat.”
Ryan Dumsa, BTFD Firefighter, said the program spans nine weeks and covers areas which pose the greatest unintentional injury risk to children. “Our first week we start with vehicle safety, whether it is motor vehicles or school buses. Then we go into fire safety around the home, water safety, bike safety, and poison avoidance. The trailer that we bring in allows us to put some smoke in to show kids how to get out of a burning house safely. And the mock mini house is an excellent tool to show students different dangers in the home.”
The program also covers choking/suffocation/strangulation prevention, falls prevention, and firearms injury prevention.
Explains Dumsa, “At this age they are very impressionable, so getting these ideas and safety tips to them early makes it possible for them to use them for the rest of their lives. It’s important to get to them as young as possible.”
The students confirmed they absorbed the lesson content and planned to make safety a priority. “You need to know this to stay safe,” said Williams, “and I’m going to tell my friends not to yell on the bus.”