Teaching kids fire safety

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, the Anderson Fire Department is returning to classrooms to teach fire safety.

Fire Marshal Anthony “Tony” Malon, a 15-year member of the department, was teaching fire safety Wednesday at Valley Grove Elementary School.

Malon gave a hands-on demonstration to students about the fact that smoke rises and the importance of crawling to safety.

He taught the second-graders in Amy Shepherd’s class about closing the door if there is a fire, staying close to the floor and not to run through a fire.

“If you smell or see smoke, something is burning,” Malon said. “Don’t run through a fire. Run in another direction to find a way out.”

He said Deputy Fire Chief Wilber Kelly normally conducts fire safety training, but he fills in at times.

“Hopefully this will keep the kids safe if there ever is a fire,” Malon said. “This is very important because most kids, when there is danger, they get scared. Hopefully this will help.

“It’s very important that they don’t hide in the event of a fire,” he said. “I’ve been in situations where it has been hard to find children that are hiding.”

Malon explained all the gear along with the sounds that will be heard during a fire.

“They know it’s us,” he said.

Shepherd said the fire safety training is a great experience for students.,

‘They get to learn about fire safety and get to see someone who works in our community,” she said.

Malon was joined by Jenny Chambers, director of the 911 Central Dispatch Center at the school. 

“We go to all the classes to educate the kids about 911,” she said. “The importance of how to call 911 and (know) their address. We explain how to recognize and handle emergencies.”

Chambers said children are taught that their address is on their home, mailbox or a piece of mail.

She said one student said the address was on a dog tag.

“We’re thankful for the opportunity to partner with the Fire Department,” Chambers said. “We focus on the importance of calling 911 in an emergency.”

This article appeared in The Herald Bulletin on November 3, 2022.