Education Matters: National Fire Prevention Week

Jackson Academy Class After Fire Prevention Presentation

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In support of National Fire Prevention Week, this past Tuesday Mayor Lester E. Taylor III of East Orange along with the city’s fire department, and local architecture & engineering firm LAN Associates, gave a compelling presentation on fire safety and prevention to dozens of second grade students at J. Garfield Jackson Sr. Academy. For the East Orange Fire Department, the presentation was one stop among many for the Department’s Fire Prevention Week activities. This was part of a larger campaign Mayor Taylor has undertaken to cultivate public-private partnerships to support educational efforts.

National Fire Prevention Week has been held annually since 1927 to educate, spread awareness, and commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It is organized by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This year’s campaign is “Don’t Wait – Check the Date! Replace Smoke Alarms Every 10 Years”, and represents the final year of the NFPA’s three-year effort to educate the public about smoke alarm safety. In addition to the presentation, LAN Associates supplied NFPA-approved educational fire prevention materials for 2,000 students in East Orange. This is LAN’s second year supporting the campaign.

East Orange Fire Prevention Presentation Kicking off the presentation, Mayor Taylor praised the East Orange Fire Department for their year-long community outreach efforts, in addition to their Fire Prevention Week events, and highlighted a recent grant from the Red Cross that allowed the city to hire an additional 22 firefighters.

“I am thankful that East Orange has been able to partner with LAN Associates to provide this extremely important fire prevention and preparedness program to our youngest students,” said Mayor Lester E. Taylor III. “Our goal is for these children to take these life-saving lessons home and share them with their families.”

LAN Associates CEO Ronald Panicucci spoke at the presentation, talking about fire safety engineering and construction practices, as well as what students can do to keep themselves safe. “I can vividly remember conducting home fire drills during Fire Prevention Week when I was in elementary school almost 50 years ago,” added Mr. Panicucci after the event, “Knowing an alternate means of escape and actually practicing that escape has always stuck with me. It is important to drill these skills into students so they know what to do when an emergency arises.”

Captain Bruce Davis, along with Captain James Carter and Firefighters Jason Green and Garrett Winn, represented the East Orange Fire Department, giving the assembled second grade students an engaging talk on safety tips like stop, drop, and roll, what to do in the event of a fire, and proper usage of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. East Orange Public Safety Director Sheilah Coley, who was present at the event, discussed the importance of speaking to elementary school students in particular. “This age is so critical because younger children are curious and may not understand the consequences of playing with fire,” added Coley.

The presentation culminated with a demonstration of how the fire department responds to a 911 call and the 80 lbs. of equipment they wear, prompting eager questions from the students.

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