Helena special needs students learn safety with first responders

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – Representatives from the Helena Police and Fire departments visited Helena High School special needs students on March 4 to talk about safety and teach the class about their jobs.

Helena Fire Lt. Heath Bartlett and Helena Police Officer Phillip Richards, who is the school resource officer, both spoke to the class explaining the different aspects of their jobs, discussing how the students could be safe and brought some of their tools to show off to the class.

Bartlett started off the presentation by asking the class, “What number do you call for an emergency?”

Everyone quickly answered 911.

This was Bartlett’s only time to speak as he was immediately called away for important Fire Department business not long after he started.

The rest of the presentation was conducted by Richards, who explained the various parts of his job and how the students can help emergency services provide them with help if needed.

“If you call 911 you need to be able to describe exactly what the emergency is and exactly where you are located,” Richards explained.

Richards also talked about how helpful the tools that police officers keep on them are for protecting themselves and those around them.

“We use our walkie talkies to communicate to other officers to tell them what we need,” he said. “We have handcuffs, which we use to help us with really angry people. We have to put them in time-out, which is what I call jail. The handcuffs keep them from hurting us or someone else.

We use our nightsticks to help us when there are people trying to harm us, or we use them to break glass when needed.”

The main point that Richards made throughout the talk with the students was to always know what to do in case there is an emergency. Always try to know exactly where you are, what kind of emergency is going on and to call 911 if necessary.