CONNER WILLIAMS - Molalla firefighters visited schools throughout the Molalla River School District to teach kids about fire prevention.As part of Fire Prevention Awareness Week, members of the Molalla Fire District visited local elementary schools to educate kids about fire prevention as well as fire safety.

At Molalla Elementary School, the MFD gave two presentations to students — first to the third through fifth-graders, and then the kindergarten through second-graders.

The presentations started off with a “Day in the life of. . .” video made by the MFD.

The video that showed firefighters doing chores around the firehouse, making sure equipment in ambulances and fire engines was in order, a truck going out on a call, and firefighters in action. The video’s purpose was to show what firefighters do on a daily basis, and to show that they’re people too.

Next, firefighter/paramedic Rob Boren demonstrated stop, drop and roll with student volunteers from the audience, followed up with some Q&A for what to do if you come across a lighter or matches. Most kids responded correctly by saying they shouldn’t touch it and to notify an adult.

Then another video was played of Sparky explaining how to identify the age of smoke detectors and notifying kids and teachers alike that they should be replaced every ten years.

The kids screamed with excitement as Sparky himself made an appearance in the brand new $3,100 mascot outfit that MFD was awarded a $2,700 grant for from FM Global. Sparky helped the kids cheer on 17-year-old firefighter recruit Brandon Mungenast as he put on his fire gear in less than 60 seconds.

MES principal Frank Luzaich said he liked the community connections that the presentation provided.

“Our kids are seeing people outside of school that are friendly, and they’re fascinated by firefighters and the big red trucks,” Luzaich said.

Much to the kids’ dismay, Boren handed out a small homework assignment that required kids to take home a form to their parents and check all of the smoke detectors in their house and replace any that are older than ten years. The class that turns in all of their slips first will receive and ice cream party with the fire department.

“I think you’re going to change adult behavior by changing kid behavior, so if the kids are coming home and saying ‘We’ve got to do this,’ then they’ll do it, because we sometimes stop thinking about those things,” Luzaich said. “So we could be saving a life potentially by having these assemblies.”

Boren said that they wanted to get out and better relate to kids, and the assemblies helped them do that.

“We have our staffing up, so we’re able to do this kind of thing now; before the levy passed, there would’ve been no way we could do this,” Boren said.

Boren said that last year was the first time they were able to visit local schools for fire prevention and safety awareness assemblies after a lack of staffing put it on hiatus for a couple of years.

“The importance is just trying to better relate to the kids,” he said. Boren noted that he wants these messages to stick with the kids and encourage them about the possibility of a career in firefighting.

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