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Students learn perils of fire

Staff writer

Fire is dangerous.

It’s a simple message Hillsboro Fire Department is sending to students.

Each year Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee provides a program to Hillsboro Elementary School students to remind them of the dangers of fire.

This year’s program, which was presented Friday, identified common fire hazards in homes.

To assist with the demonstration, the fire science department of Hutchinson Community College provided a trailer which had three rooms for students to view.

There were fire hazards in each room with the third being a simulation of a fire. Students then were instructed how to safely exit a burning structure through a window.

At the start of the demonstration, students were shown a display of what appeared to be toys but actually were lighters.

“It builds an awareness to children that these toys may be lighters,” Steketee said.

Students looked at lighters that resembled rifles, guitars, dolls, skateboards, cameras, and electronics.

The next segment of the program was within the specially-built trailer provided by HCC.

In the first room that resembled a kitchen. Students were asked to find fire hazards.

Among those hazards were a cell phone plugged in by a kitchen sink, an aerosol can, pot holder, and paper towels by a stove, and matches lying on a counter, making them accessible to children.

The next room was one with a fireplace. Next to the simulated fireplace was a stack of newspapers. Also in the room, HFD volunteers demonstrated a smoke detector which sounded like a traditional detector but also had a red, flashing light for hearing impaired.

Craig Smith, a fire science instructor at Hutchinson Community College, said the trailer is available to any school or community in the state of Kansas.

“Most of these demonstrations are in conjunction with local fire departments,” he said.

The only charge for the trailer is mileage.

At the end of the demonstration, students are more aware of the dangers of fire and playing with matches and lighters.

Last modified Oct. 15, 2008

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