ella hug

Kindergartener Ella Growette gives firefighter Tommy Baron a hug. Children were given an opportunity to interact with the firefighters in their gear Tuesday morning.

The International Falls Fire Station was filled with children obviously excited and ready to learn about fire safety Tuesday morning.

The visit coincided with National Fire Prevention Week.

The second graders, first graders, and kindergartners listened to presentations about fire safety, saw firefighters suit up into their protective gear, and were able to walk through a fire truck.

“What do we do if our clothes catch on fire?” Fire Chief Adam Mannausau asked the first graders, “Any guesses?”

An enthusiastic, “stop, drop and roll” came from the crowd. One first grader ran to the front to demonstrate, rolling on the ground and shielding his face.

kindergarteners lights

Kindergarteners check out the features on a fire truck.

The children seemed well-versed on the concept of “stop, drop and roll,” and many of the well-known ways that fires can start.

“What are some other (fire) hazards in our house that we need to be worried about?” Mannausau asked.

He highlighted some of the lesser-known ways accidents can occur, such as overheating electronics or getting in the way of a parent cooking in the kitchen.

first grade fist bump

A first-grader shakes hands with firefighter Tommy Baron, center, while firefighter Justin Chezick looks on.

“Does anyone have a LeapPad or a tablet or a cellphone or anything like that?” Mannausau asked.

Hands shot up around the room.

“Those can get really hot sometimes. We want to make sure that when we charge those, we set them on a hard surface like a table or a counter top,” he explained.

suit up

Firefighters Justin Chezick and Tommy Baron, at right, put on their gear in front of a group of kindergarteners.

The children were encouraged to go home and remind their parents to check the batteries in household smoke detectors.

“These are all things you can go home and tell your parents about and sound really, really smart,” he told the kids.

Two firefighters, Tommy Baron and Justin Chezick, suited up into full gear and shook hands with the students so they could see that firefighters are nothing to be afraid of, even when they are wearing helmets and ventilation masks.


Kindergarteners react to the sounds of a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide detector going off.

Children were then able to explore the inside of a fire truck, and many seemed impressed by the bright lights and features.

high fives

First graders line up to high-five firefighters Justin Chezick and Tommy Baron.

Fire Prevention Week was enacted in 1925 by President Calvin Coolidge, who determined it would be held annually during the week of Oct. 9, in commemoration of the “Great Chicago Fire” which occurred on Oct. 8, 1871, and caused devastating damage.

fire truck line

Students line up to climb through a fire truck.

line of kids

Students line up to check out various emergency vehicles, while firefighter engineer Jared Baldwin tells them about safety equipment.

It was held this year from Oct. 6-12.

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