NEWS | Oct. 25, 2011

U.S. military touts fire prevention to nearly 100 Honduran children

By Tech. Sgt. Matthew McGovern Joint Task Force-Bravo Public Affairs

Airmen of the 612th Air Base Squadron's fire department provided fire safety training here to more than 95 local kindergarten children Oct. 9.

The Activities, as part  fire prevention week, included crawling through a simulator containing dry ice smoke, participating in a smoke detector class, touring the fire station and watching a water truck demonstration.

"Their level of fire protection isn't at the level it is in the states, so the more we can educate them the better prepared they will be if there is a fire in their home or school," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Nix, 612th ABS assistance chief of fire prevention.

Reaction time, the importance of an escape route, and the dangers and effects of smoke were also discussed during the smoke detector class.

"I learned to get down low when there is smoke and to run fast to call the fire department," said Caro Argueta, a five-year-old student from Comayagua.

Sparky, the fire dog, was also on hand to interact and handout firefighter hats to the children, ages four to six.

"My favorite part was when Sparky was dancing," said David Derosa, age six. "I also loved the smoke and the gifts."

Fire prevention handouts, translated in Spanish, were provided to the children to be shared with their families and friends.

"We are trying to keep the local kids and their families safe as well as strengthen our ties with our local fire department and community," Sergeant Nix said.

Senior Master Sgt. Michael Burns, 612th ABS Fire Emergency Service chief, has assisted with previous local fire prevention training and can attest to the importance of educating the youth.

"If you teach them at a young age, they can appreciate what can happen to them, and how to correctly react to a fire situation," Sergeant Burns said.

Earlier in the day, the firefighters participated in a local parade where they handed out safety flyers, fire hats and candy to children at Comayagua, seven miles away from Soto Cano AB.