San Pedro Fire Department and NEMO hold emergency drills
Saturday, November 21st, 2015
The San Pedro Fire Department (SPFD) along with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) conducted a series of fire and emergency preparedness drills at various schools on the island. The drills began on Monday, November 16th, with lectures given at the San Pedro Roman Catholic School and Ambergris Caye Elementary School, and continued on Tuesday, November 17th at The Island Academy and the New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist School (NHSDAS). The main purpose of the exercises at the educational institutions was to educate the children on safety procedures and to know what to do during emergency situations, such as in the case of a fire or flood.
The last drill of the week took place at NHSDAS, where at 2PM children were surprised when they heard the siren and the fire engine truck entering the school compound. Jeromey Timrose Augustin from NEMO and Fire Station Chief Officer Newton Lennan paid a visit to the school to speak about safety measures. Augustin spoke to the children about the dangers of flooding. She explained what to do in case of being caught in a flood and why is so important to stay away from stagnant waters after heavy rains. The children listened attentively as Augustin indicated the dangers in flooded areas such as electric cables that may linger under the water, broken glass, and the transmission of potential deadly diseases. At the end of her presentation, Augustin tested the children with questions regarding safety plans to take during a flood and many responded with the right answers.
Lennan followed with a presentation focused on a fire safety plan to have on hand in case of a fire. He mentioned that everyone should have a fire safety plan, it should not be just at schools but also at home, at work and everywhere where it can be applied. “In case of an emergency, for example at home everyone needs to be aware of a fire safety plan and know what to do. It is important to teach these important things to children, at school and home so that when something does happen, these lessons we are teaching will automatically kick in and they will know how to react to the situation,” indicated Lennan. He emphasized that the main thing for children to do is get out of the house and stay out until the fire truck arrives. “If children do not know what to do, then they will try to deal with the situation in their own way which can be detrimental to them. It’s all about practicing safety measures so everyone can stay safe and lives can be saved,” said Lennan.
Before finishing his presentation, Lennan explained to the students the different gears the Fire Department wears when there is a fire. He first explained the suit that one of the fire fighters was wearing is worn when rescuing trapped persons inside a burning house. The suit was equipped with a mask and an oxygen tank and even an axe in order to assist the person that needs to be rescued. Next, was a thick yellow suit that is used when a firefighter is fighting the fire from the outside and does not go inside the burning structure or place. On both of these different suits, Lennan explained to the students that one of the most important things is their helmets, which are rock hard to avoiding injury from falling objects.
At the end of the presentations, the children were given a treat, as one by one, they were able to feel like a fire fighter by using the fire truck hose with the assistance of a firefighter. The excitement in their faces was a clear indication that they really enjoyed this particular lesson.
The drills will resume on Monday, November 23rd with the remaining schools on Ambergris Caye. The SPFD and NEMO would like to thank everyone for their participation in such an important, must- do activity.
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