Firefighters visit Children#8217;s Center

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 14, 2007

FRANKLIN—Pre-kindergarten students at The Children’s Center learned about what their neighbors do during Community Helpers Week.

According to Lead Pre-K teacher Patricia Ellsworth, the concept was to introduce the children to people in the community, other than their parents, who help other people.

Each day this week was dedicated to a guest speaker, except for Tuesday, which was set aside for art projects.

Wednesday was one of the highlights of the week, as Lt. Chris Turner and firefighter Robert Pearce of the Hunterdale Volunteer Fire Department visited the facility with Engine 55.

“All of the students ended up participating,” Turner said. “First we tried to find out what the students knew.

“We talked about safety tips like not playing with matches, having properly-working smoke detectors, the importance of having an escape plan in the event of a fire and how dangerous it is to go back in a burning building.”

Turner said instilling the knowledge in the children while they are young helps the fire departments in the long run.

“The children will go home and tell their parents what they’ve learned, and in turn it helps parents, for example, remember to change the batteries in their smoke detector.”

The idea is the more people know, the less emergencies they hopefully experience.

The students were really excited to see the engine.

“They got to hear the sirens and see the lights,” Turner said. “Robert suited up so they could see all the gear.”

One of Turner’s specialties is vehicle extrication.

“They seemed really interested in that. We showed them tools, air packs and the Jaws of Life.”

The children received coloring books with safety tips to take home.

Pre-K students also received a visit from Tasha Hicks, assistant manager of Family Dollar in Franklin, who taught them how the store operates and how to pay for items at the store.

Gene Drewery of the Southampton Sheriff’s Office was also a guest who talked about safety and showed them his police car.

“We are also going to visit Dr. Ernest Knight’s office Friday, where they will learn about hygiene,” Ellsworth said.

Knight is a dentist who practices in Franklin. The Early Head Start students will join Pre-K for that trip.

“We have gone over things about each speaker after the presentations,” she said. “They learned a lot, and the information really stuck with them.”