Safety trailer seen as big boost for fire prevention efforts at local schools

Photo by Kristina Gabalski: Pete Sidari of the Albion Fire Department shows Holley Board of Education members the exterior of the Orleans County Fire Safety Trailer. It will eventually have educational illustrations covering the exterior.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2017 at 10:36 am

HOLLEY – Young people across Orleans County will be able to learn the fundamentals of fire safety in a very hands-on way once a new educational trailer and staff are ready.

Peter Sidari of the Albion Fire Department and Dale Banker, director of Orleans County Emergency Management, spoke to members of the Holley School Board of Education Monday night to give them an understanding of the educational opportunities the trailer will provide to elementary students through on-site visits and assemblies at local schools. Sidari is also the fire safety educator for the North Greece Fire District.

The county was able to obtain the trailer through $75,000 in grant funding obtained by State Senator Robert Ortt.

The Fire Safety Trailer (house) was delivered Aug. 24 and its interior is designed to look like a typical home with a kitchen, hallway and bedroom. With special effects, presenters are able to mimic what it would be like to be in a burning building and guide students on the safe way to escape, meet up with other family members outside, and call for help.

“It helps us to teach fire escape planning,” Sidari explained.  “It’s a hand-on approach to teaching fire safety. Our hope would be that students take the information home to their families.”

He elaborated on the special effects in the trailer which include smoke alarms, a fog machine (utilizes theater fog), a simulated burning trash can, a hot door (not hot enough to cause injury, Sidari noted) and an exterior phone system which will allow students to call and speak with emergency officials just as if they were reporting a real blaze.

The trailer helps students practice what they would do if they ever found themselves in a burning building. Different styles of windows are also part of the trailer design, allowing students to see how varying styles of windows open.

Sidari said it may take some time to get the program fully up and running. Emergency Management hopes to have the trailer at the Orleans County 4-H Fair in the future as well.

He told Orleans Hub the trailers have been effective teaching tools in other locations and recounted two success stories: a young boy who went through one of the programs was able to save his grandparents during a fire, and a college student was able to safely get out of her housing during a fire by remembering what she had learned from a fire safety trailer program while in grade school.

The fire safety programs will be available at no cost to local school districts, Sidari said.

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