HFD shares safety tips at summer reading program

Helena Fire Department Lt. Heath Bartlett (right) shows summer reading participants the Jaws of Life tool during the department’s visit to the summer reading program on June 29. (Reporter Photo/Keith McCoy)

Helena Fire Department Lt. Heath Bartlett (right) shows summer reading participants the Jaws of Life tool during the department’s visit to the summer reading program on June 29. (Reporter Photo/Keith McCoy)

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–There’s no such thing as being too cautious when it comes to fires, and representatives from the Helena Fire Department shared safety tips and gave summer reading participants a chance to view a variety of equipment and tools on Wednesday, June 29 at Helena City Hall.

Each Wednesday for the majority of summer, kids have the opportunity to see a wide range of speakers and presentations and Helena Fire Lt. Heath Bartlett gave kids an inside look at the life of a firefighter.

Bartlett has been with the Helena Fire Department for 18 years and brought an interactive house to City Hall that produces smoke to simulate a room catching on fire, produces a fire alarm sound and more.

If a person is on fire or in a situation where there’s a house fire, Bartlett emphasized the importance of stop, drop and roll, feeling a door with the back of your hand to check the temperature, staying low to the ground, waving a towel out the window and preventative tips like not leaving food that is cooking unattended.

Summer reading participants also got to see how much gear a firefighter must put on in order to go into a burning building.

“With this much gear on including the mask, it is very important to be in a place where it is not hard for a firefighter to reach you,” said Bartlett. “We only have a small window we can see through so the more you stand out the better we can see to help you.”

The second part of the program let children see the two fire trucks, including the recently purchased 78-foot ladder truck. Children and parents looked high in the sky at the ladder and watched it rotate.

“My favorite part was getting to see the new fire truck,” said rising second grader Ansley Bauer.

Other equipment including the Jaws of Life, chainsaws, hoses and other tools were on display for children to see.

The program concluded with kids getting Helena fire stickers and a fire safety coloring book.

The Helena Summer Reading Program is scheduled to take place every Wednesday through July 13.

The remaining schedule for the summer reading program is as follows:

  • July 6–Visit with the police department–2 p.m.
  • July 13–Summer reading close out celebration–2 p.m.