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Pembroke Pines Fla--Firefighters Enjoy School Programs

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  • Pembroke Pines Fla--Firefighters Enjoy School Programs

    Sun-Sentinel.com

    Teaching life lessons

    By Marcia Freidenreich
    Special Correspondent
    Posted May 30 2003

    Pembroke Pines · Ever wonder how you'd escape a burning house rapidly filling with smoke?

    Thirty fifth-graders from Palm Cove Elementary School tested their own reactions at a "Kids and the Power of Work" program at the Pembroke Pines Fire-Rescue Department.

    The program is part of a yearlong course presented by the Broward Public Schools Department of School-to-Career and volunteers from several city departments. The purpose of KAPOW is to teach children lessons that connect classroom learning with real-world workplace skills.

    The May 2 visit to the Fire Department included use of its safety trailer to teach home fire safety. Students were told to sit in a room with the door closed. Non-toxic smoke was then pumped into the room as well as the rest of the safety trailer.

    "It felt like you were really in a burning house," said Amanda Mendez, 11, as she exited the hazy trailer after crawling on her hands and knees. "At first I felt like I just wanted to open the door and run out, but they told us to stop and think. I'll remember that."

    Before leaving the room to escape, students were instructed to feel the door, which houses a heating device, to see if it was hot. If it was, they were to find an alternate escape route because in a real situation a hot door indicates fire on the other side.

    Fire Capt. Brad Mayhew told students to stay low to the ground and crawl under the smoke, because smoke rises, leaving a small space near the floor.

    "We're teaching older children how to teach their younger siblings and other family members to deal with a fire situation; how to stop, keep themselves together and stay low," he said. "We want them to be in control. Panic is a terrible killer."

    Takilah Nonome-horne, 10, crawled out of a side window to safety.

    "I think it was great," she said. "I learned never to open the door if it's hot, to find another exit. If a fire were really happening it would be scary."

    The children also learned how to use equipment, interacted with the department's support staff and had a behind-the-scenes tour of the dispatch office, living quarters and kitchen facilities.

    The Pembroke Pines police, parks and recreation, and water and sewer departments and other schools also participate in the program.

    "Students many times will ask their teachers while doing a lesson, `What good will this do me when I grow up?'" said regional KAPOW coordinator John Casbarro of Cooper City. "Our programs help teachers coordinate real workplace concepts into their lesson plans. Our motto is: relate, reinforce and connect."

    Assistant Fire Marshal David Raines of Davie, the department's public information officer, was enthusiastic about having the children on site.

    "We're trying to demonstrate how children can hone their skills," he said. "We are demonstrating fire safety tactics that they can pass along to others. We are teaching them to learn to express themselves in memos or over the phone in an emergency situation. We are addressing curiosity about fire-starting among children, in hopes of preventing fires."

    Pembroke Pines paramedic Ken Yost has been visiting classes at Palm Cove Elementary all year, teaching fire safety in preparation for the students' end-of-the-year visit.

    "I love teaching and working with the kids," he said. "They really surprised me sometimes with their questions."


    Copyright © 2003, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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