Picayune Fire Department hosts Kids Fire Academy

Published 2:02 pm Friday, June 12, 2009

For the second year local children had a week of fun and instruction from the Picayune Fire Department.

The Kids Fire Academy was such a success in its first year last year that it was offered again this year, said Picayune Fire Chief Keith Brown. During the program children learn about being a fire fighter, and most of all about fire safety.

This past week the department hosted about 25 children in the age range of six to nine years. In July the department will host a second group of older kids between 10 and 12 years old, Brown said.

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During the week of instruction and fun the children learn about fire safety, what the fire department does, what information to provide when calling 911 and also engage in tours of emergency vehicles. Training officer Barry Lee said the children got a chance to tour an ambulance and today will get to look at the LifeFlight helicopter up close.

Brown said the program is funded by grants from the Department of Health, and local retailers such as Wal-Mart and Fred’s.

While most of the activities are physical in nature the children also learn about the importance of stop drop and roll, how to safely evacuate a burning building and they also create arts and crafts.

Lee said the department used a controlled fire in their on-site burn building to properly show the children how to safely evacuate a burning building and to illustrate how fire and smoke behave in a burning building. The children were able to see that smoke rises so if they stay low while inside a burning building it will keep them from inhaling the smoke.

The children also learned about the importance of remembering their phone number and address in case they have to call 911, Lee said.

Thursday the children had some time to play in the water by conducing team based competitions. The activities involved passing water buckets along a line of children to fill up a larger bucket before the other team and pushing a large barrel using the spray from a fire hose.