For years, members of the Hannibal Fire Department have taken an important fire-safety message into local elementary schools. This year a new message is being shared with an older audience.
“We’re actually teaching more age-appropriate material and re-enforcing the messages we teach to the elementary kids. We’re doing that in the middle school this year. We’ve met with Principal Blane Mundle and decided to focus on the seventh graders,” said Bill Madore, chief of the HFD, who expressed his thanks to the school district for its cooperation.
“We’re getting into some more serious issues as far as fire behavior, fire safety and consequences. We think these kids need to know this and we need to do a better job following up our message because we feel it’s so important.”
Principal Mundle is happy to carve out time to allow firefighters to share potentially life-saving information with the students.
“It’s an excellent presentation,” said Mundle. “We’re very proud to team up with the Hannibal Fire Department and get them into our building to teach our kids.”
This year’s message is particularly pertinent in Hannibal.
“The emphasis this year for Fire Prevention Week is preventing kitchen fires, so we’re getting out to the public and parochial schools and re-enforcing the message of fire prevention and fire safety, getting out of the structure, 911, smoke alarms and things of that nature,” said Madore, noting that kitchen fires are frequent calls received by the HFD. “It’s great the fact that this year’s message is preventing kitchen fires, which is in tune with Hannibal and what our needs are here in town.”
During a presentation on Tuesday morning, HFD engineers Ryan Sparks and Mark Kempker taught practical information such as how to appropriately use a household fire extinguisher.
Students also watched a video featuring a young man who had set fire in his school. The teen-ager shared how the experience had negatively changed his life.
“There are serious consequences starting fires. There are serious consequences to arson. They (firefighters) truly connected it to their (students’) lives. That’s what I liked about their presentation,” said Mundle. “They were able to show the kids that if you do something and make a bad choice, whether it be because of a peer group, whether it be just a choice you make because you’re angry, it has long-lasting affects on your life. It affects your parents, it affects your friends and most importantly in affects you for the rest of your life in many different ways.”
Page 2 of 2 - Was the presentation helpful? Three HMS students thought it was.
“Definitely because it could help them (classmates) be safe,” said John Maune.
“Yes, because some of these people could try to do this because they’re angry with school. This could help them understand not to do that,” said Conner Bross.
“I feel like it affected most of us pretty effectively,” said Alec Mundle. “Everyone was pretty intent on watching it I think. I didn’t see many people talking or anything like that.”
What new information was gained?
“I learned a little bit more about fire safety,” said Alec, adding he was shocked that the fire-starter featured in the video was responsible for over $700,000 in damage to his school.
“I learned that maybe we shouldn’t always leave everything unattended and maybe I should watch my younger siblings around the stove, microwave and things like that,” said John.
“I learned today about how to use the fire extinguisher. To pull the tab out, then aim, squeeze and spray,” said Conner.
Being the first group of Hannibal seventh graders to see the presentation was noteworthy to John.
“I think it’s kind of cool,” he said. “I think it’s definitely beneficial for the students and maybe even some of the teachers.”