HFD shares fire safety tips at Helena Summer Reading program

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Parents and children filed into Helena City Hall on Wednesday, June 28, and were greeted with fire fighting safety stickers and Helena Fire Department Lt. Heath Bartlett as the Helena Fire Department paid a visit to the Helena Summer Reading program.

Roughly 70 children and adults came to city hall to learn about fire safety tips, have questions answered, see the firefighters’ equipment and learn more about the job firefighters do on a regular basis.

Bartlett, who has been with the Helena Fire Department for 18 years, explained that he will normally work a 24-hour shift and then will have two days off when working with HFD.

Bartlett asked children in the audience a variety of questions such as “What is an emergency?” “What do you do if your clothes catch on fire?” “How should you check the temperature of a door if it is hot?” “How do you get out of bed if smoke is in a room?” and more.

Bartlett explained proper techniques such as stop, drop, roll and cover your face, always check doors with the back of your hand, wave a pillow case or something else easily visible outside a window to alert firefighters, stay close to the wall if you are trapped inside a room so firefighters can locate you easier and more.

After explaining the tips and techniques, a Helena firefighter came into the room dressed head to toe in gear. Bartlett explained how the gear worked and how the only oxygen he was receiving came from one tank on his back.

After high-fiving the firefighters, children and their parents made their way out into the fire station bay where they got to see Fire Engine 61 and learn about the tools on the truck.

“This engine will hold 750 gallons of water,” Bartlett said. “There is also 1,200 feet of fire hose on the truck too.”

Bartlett opened the different compartments on the truck and showed off tools like the Jaws of Life and what they’re used for.

After the presentation, many parents took photos of their children posing next to the fire truck. Seeing the truck was one of the favorite parts of the visit for 5-year-old Banks Colburn.

“Seeing the fire truck was cool and also seeing the fireman in his suit and giving him a high-five was my favorite part,” Colburn said.

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

–July 5–Visit with the police department–2:30 p.m.

–July 12–Summer reading Wild West Show close out celebration –2:30 p.m.

In addition to the summer reading program, the Jane B. Holmes library will also host “Story Time with Ms. Jennie” every Tuesday and Thursday at 11 a.m.

To view and purchase photos from the Helena Fire Department’s visit at the summer reading program, visit Shelbycountyphotos.com.