Hero teaches Chelsea students about fire safety

More than 600 Chelsea Intermediate School students Thursday got the chance to learn about fire safety from one of their favorite teachers — Hero, the Chelsea Fire Department Dalmatian.

When Principal Stephanie Herring introduced Hero by saying, “Here today, we have our famous Hero,” the entire gym burst into spontaneous applause.

Don Williamson, Chelsea firefighter and Hero’s handler, shared fire safety tips with the audience, especially emphasizing the importance of leaving the house in case of a fire.

“You get out and you stay out. Do not go back inside the house,” he said. “We do not want you to go back inside the house.”

He also told students they should not call the Chelsea Fire Department directly in an emergency. Instead, they should always call 911.

“If you need to call the fire department for any reason, call what?” he asked.

“9-1-1!” the kids shouted back.

Hero stole the show, however, sometimes leaving Williamson’s side to explore the crowd.

“Hero is actually a (firefighter) at our fire department,” Williamson said. “He has his own ID card.”

Wiliamson also reminded the kids to stay low to the ground in a smoke-filled building in order to breathe clean, cool air and to always have a designated place to go outside of the house if there’s a fire.

“If someone says they can’t find you, we have to go in to look for you,” Williamson said.

Hero then took the time to show the students how to stop, drop and roll himself. Once again, the gym broke into applause and cheers.

Herring said Hero just provides another way to make sure the message about fire safety sinks in for her students.

“We absolutely feel like they need to know all the fire precautions,” she said. “This is the first year we’ve had Hero. (The students) love it. The Chelsea Fire Department is on the ball.”