The Mohawk Fire Department conducted an open house for the community Wednesday, in conjunction with Fire Prevention Week.
“Fire Prevention Week is for the kids,” said Mohawk Fire Chief Daniel Mabbett. “It’s to teach them stop, drop and roll, what to do if there is a fire and to never go back into the house [if there is a fire].”
Mabbett said the open house is also an opportunity for children to get to know the firefighters. “Some kids are afraid [of firefighters],” he said.
Mabbett took a moment to talk to Mary Baldwin’s young daughter, Isabella Bouck, of Ilion, one of the children who attended the open house.
“She was very excited about it,” said Baldwin.
When asked why she wanted to go out to the open house, Isabella said, “Because I like to be here.”
A fire prevention station was situated in the village office parking lot, which is near the fire station. The purpose of the station is to teach children ways to get out of a home when it is on fire. After talking with firefighters, children have to find the quickest exit when a non-toxic, simulated smoke is released inside the building.
Children also lined up to practice “stop, drop and roll” and to “stay low and go” with Barbara Bellstedt, Mohawk’s fire prevention assistant, during the open house. They took turns rolling on a mat and crawling low to the ground if smoke fills a room. After doing that, children were given junior deputy marshal certificates and red fire helmets.
“We’ve had an amazing turnout,” said Bellstedt.
The fire department has been visiting with students throughout the week to talk about fire prevention, including this year’s theme of preventing kitchen fires. An assembly was planned for Thursday at Jarvis Middle School.
Tom Pedersen, of Ilion, said his daughter, Taylor, wanted to go to the open house after hearing she visited the station with her pre-kindergarten class earlier in the day.
Shauna Durfee was also at the open house with her daughter, Taylor. “We wanted to learn about fire safety and how to get out if there ever was a fire,” said Durfee.
The Herkimer County Sheriff’s Office provided photo IDs for children and Sparky the Fire Dog was there to greet children. Verizon Pioneers and the Herkimer County 911 Center were there to teach children how to dial 911 in the event of an emergency.
Dale Barker, a state Firemen’s Association assistant volunteer programs coordinator, was at the open house to encourage recruitment among college students.
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