By: Diane Feldman, Managing Editor

What would you do if your clothes were on fire?
From Tom Kiurski: As a firefighter for Livonia (MI) Fire & Rescue, one of my job responsibilities is going out into the community to talk to groups about fire safety. One afternoon, I went to talk to a preschool group of about 25 children. Preschool groups are one of our most popular groups, so these presentations are almost “automatic” for me after 20 years in the fire service.

While I usually refrain from calling on preschoolers during the presentation, I do welcome some input when I ask some fairly simple questions, such as the emergency telephone number to call or for fire safety behaviors they usually know.

When I asked the group what they would do if their clothes were on fire, I saw almost every hand go up. Expecting the answer “Stop, Drop and Roll,” I would then demonstrate and give them the opportunity to practice. However, I was laughing uncontrollably when I called on one of the boys. His response to my question about what to do if his clothes were on fire? “I wouldn’t put them on!”

Video “shoot” takes on a whole new meaning
When the Yenta was filming Bill Peters’ speaking parts for his apparatus video, I chose the nice, quiet, remote location of River Vale, New Jersey. We already had changed fire station locations once during the shoot because buzzing from some live wires was being picked up by the overly sensitive microphone.

At our second fire station of the day, things were progressing beautifully when suddenly we heard gunshots in the distance. The Sunday we had picked to film happened to be the day of the county’s annual turkey shoot in a nearby town, and the shots could be heard for miles. Bill Peters, the apparatus supervisor for an urban New Jersey area, commented: “If I wanted gunshots in the background, I could have stayed at work.”

Back to school
On September 11, 2002, a middle school in Aurora, Colorado invited the local engine and truck companies to lunch. The firefighters were sitting at their own table, when some of the kids walked up and started reading cards they had written for the firefighters. They expressed such deep feelings that they left the firefighters speechless. They told how grateful they were and how the firefighters were true heroes and thanked them again and again for always being there for them. They also gave the firefighters some money that they had collected in a fund drive. Some of the kids said they gave up lunches so they could donate their lunch money instead. They collected almost $500.

The kids said they were so happy we could come so they could share their feelings about 9-11 and how it affected them. The firefighters from Aurora were very humbled and affected by those children. One said: We were not sure how the day would feel to us, but going to the school made us feel special and appreciated. The one-year anniversary of 9-11 turned out to be a very good day to be at work.”

Got air?
Air quality has always been an issue in many commercial buildings, including many college buildings within the City University of New York (CUNY) system. At John Jay College, known for its fire science curriculum, the faculty developed a “Got Air?” campaign. They attached paper strips with the words “Got Air?” to the supply air vents in the building to indicate via flapping if there was any air movement.

FDIC staff lends creative talents to memorial service
The Fire Department Instructors Conference General Session team, led by Rich Anderson, will serve as creative production consultants for the October 6 National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Service in Washington, DC. The service is from 1-4 pm this Sunday and will be televised on C-SPAN. If you love the General Sessions at the FDIC and FDIC West, you can see the team in action again. Check local TV listings. (The events on C-SPAN are often rebroadcast.)

If you have a tidbit for the Fire Yenta, e-mail [email protected].


For past Fire Yenta columns, click on the links below:

9/27/02
9/20/02
9/13/02
9/6/02
8/30/02
8/23/02
8/16/02
8/9/02
8/2/02
7/26/02
7/19/02
7/12/02