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Mobile smokehouse teaches children about fire safety

The children dropped to the bedroom floor and crawled to the window as the smoke alarm sounded and the second-story room filled with smoke.
They quickly took their turn climbing down the ladder, and went around the corner to gather at the designated meeting place.
Fortunately, there was no fire. Rather, the students at Morgan Elementary School were practicing Friday morning what to do in the event of a real fire.
Members of the Palmyra Volunteer Fire Dept. used their new “smokehouse” to teach fire safety.
Palmyra VFD Chief Scooter Elliott said they purchased the mobile trailer, similar to a small RV, with a grant they received from the Ronald McDonald House. The fire department funded the remaining balance. First Harrison Bank, Harrison County Hospital and Jones Machine & Tool also signed on as three-year sponsors; that funding allowed the trailer to be painted.
In the trailer is a living room, kitchen, bedroom and small control room.
Last week at Morgan, a firefighter sat in the living room with the children and asked them to point out any hazards they saw. There were several: the grate was not over the fireplace, matches were laying on the mantel, magazine and papers were on the floor near the hearth, an extension cord ran underneath the carpet, and there were so many items plugged into an outlet that they had to be taped in place.
In the kitchen, children pointed out that the handles of pots and pans were hanging over the stove, a roll of paper towels was near a burner, and a fire extinguisher on the stove could become too hot to pick up if it was needed.
Before moving upstairs, the children practiced calling 911. The call doesn’t actually go through Harrison County Dispatch. Rather, a firefighter located in the control room answered the phone and talked the child through what information would be asked if there was a real emergency.
On the way up to the bedroom, the children had to walk around or over a stuffed animal that was left on the stairs. Once the children were settled in the bedroom, the firefighter asked if it’s a good idea to have items sitting on the stairs that could cause someone to fall.
“Noooooooooo!” was the reply.
Also during the demonstration, the children are taught the importance of not hiding from rescue workers and how they should feel closed doors to see if they are hot before opening them.
A sensor in the bedroom door simulates what a door would feel like if there were a fire on the other side.
Firefighters also tell the children how stuffing a blanket or sheet under the door will help keep smoke from coming into the room while they are waiting to be rescued.
On Friday, firefighter Randall King Jr. used a remote control device that sent smoke through the vent into the bedroom. The smoke activated the smoke alarm.
The children dropped to the floor, made their way to the window, and climbed down the ladder attached to the rear of the trailer. Painted on the side of the trailer is a tree and the words “Meeting Place.” When the children reached the ground, they gathered at the designated place.
The Palmyra VFD has trained firefighters from other departments in the county how to use the trailer so they can assist in the demonstrations. On Oct. 8, Corydon Elementary School students were able to go through the smokehouse.

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