October is Fire Prevention Month and the Kearney Volunteer Fire Department spent some time at the library Friday morning teaching kids about fire safety.
Kids and their parents filled up the reading room at the Kearney Public Library waiting for Smokey the Bear to make his appearance with the men and women of the Kearney F.D. The firefighters showed off their gear to the kids and let them get hands on with their helmets, boots and jacket.
Brothers, Sammy and Jeffery Sertich, came to see Smokey and the firefighters and said the gear was their favorite part, "Fire helmets - I want to put the clothes on!"
The brothers' enthusiasm for the fire gear is just what the firefighters were looking for.
"Most children don't see firefighters with all their clothes on and their face piece and tanks on them and so we want them to be aware of the sounds firefighters will make when they come into their home and they know they're there to help and not to scare them," said firefighter Ken Tracy.
Tracy says they sometimes compare the mask and sounds the air tanks make to "Darth Vader." Kids who are not familiar with how a firefighter looks and sounds in their gear can become scared easily.
Smokey was a big hit too. He handed out high fives and hugs to the many kids in attendance and Tracy read them a story about a mom who was a firefighter. He also talked about how families can keep their kids safe in the event of a fire and how to prevent one.
Fire safety tips:
- Parents should never leave their kids alone with lit candles or even space heaters. These can cause a fire hazard.
- Families should have an escape plan and a designated meeting spot in the event of a fire in their home. Children should be involved in making the plan and practice it with the family.
- Smoke alarms should be checked and batteries replaced if necessary. Parents should turn on the alarm for their kids so they are familiar with the sound it makes.
"There is no better prevention than parent supervision," said Tracy.