Second-graders from Kessler School sat down in front of a man in pink Tuesday.
Helena Fire Marshal Craig Trapp asked them, “What do you do when your clothes catch on fire?” as he pinched the corner of his new pink uniform.
In harmony, they responded, “STOP, DROP and ROLL!”
The second-graders, who were from Susan Beckstrom’s and Nancy Begler’s classes, didn’t have much to say about Trapp’s new pink uniform, which is for breast cancer awareness.
They were too transfixed on Herbie the Hydrant and, as second-grader Jacob Spangenberg put it, excited “when we got to crawl through the (fake) smoke.”
Every second grade class from across the Helena Valley will be filing through Helena Fire Department Station 1 over the next week and a half to learn about fire prevention as a part of national Fire Prevention Week.
They will start off watching a cartoon, narrated by characters from Lion King, and then listen to Trapp emphasize fire prevention, crawl through a room full of fake smoke, listen to Sparky the Dog and then walk through the cabin of a fire engine.
Firefighter Neil Koehler wasn’t too concerned that the kids didn’t pay much attention to the uniform color change. Instead he said he was very proud of what the symbolism means and that the firefighters spent their personal money to buy their own pink uniforms.
Firefighters protect lives, he said. This is just one more way to bring life saving knowledge to the Helena community.
“If we get one person out there to decide to get checked early and gets checked out and finds out they have cancer … Well, that’s what’s it’s all about,” he said.
Education and awareness are preventive measures to ensure community safety.
On Thursday, the community is invited to the annual open house event at Station 1. There will be food, safety seminars and hands-on learning exercises, including a safety trailer. Herbie the Hydrant and Sparky the fire dog will also be present.
As with the second-graders, Herbie will be emphasizing the importance of having smoke detectors in each bedroom and to sleep with the doors closed.
Koehler said there will also be a booth selling pink firefighter uniforms. The proceeds from the shirts will go into two different funds at St. Peter’s Hospital to help breast cancer patients.
The shirts are also for sale at Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply, Capital Sports and Western Wear, Capitol Hill Barber and Styling, St. Peter’s Hospital Gift Shop and the Helena Fire Department Station 1.