Schoolchildren across Modesto are learning some safety basics from the Modesto Fire Department.
Have your parents check smoke alarms once a month.
Bad air goes high, clean air stays low, so crawl through a smoky room.
Once out of a burning structure, don’t go back in for anything.
Don’t climb up the chimney to get out of your house.
OK, that last one was necessary only because the department’s fire education program includes a goofy guy named Tex, who’s a bit short on common sense. The kids also had to help him understand the old "stop, drop and roll" rule.
The program coincides with Fire Prevention Week, said Fire Department spokeswoman Jessica Smart, and this year’s theme is “Every Second Counts — Plan 2 Ways Out.”
Talking about having at least two planned routes of escape from a house fire, whether windows, doors or a combination, is how kids learned that Tex (MFD engineer Tommy Dick beneath the makeup and oversize cowboy hat) thought climbing up the chimney is a perfectly acceptable way to leave a house. Students and MFD engineer Nick Clark set him straight.
Children also learned that before opening a door in a house fire, feel from the bottom up to see if it's hot. If it is, leave through a window. They were taught, too, that their family members should have an agreed-upon meetingplace in front of their homes. Something always there, like a tree or mailbox.
And one other super-important rule: Once out of a burning house, don't re-enter for any reason. It's firefighters' jobs, Clark said, to get anyone else, or any pets or belongings, safely out.
The education program at schools will run through Oct. 20, Smart said, with two shows a day reaching more than 6,000 kids. The next stops are Thursday morning at Standiford Elementary and Thursday afternoon at Orchard Elementary.