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Shoal Creek students get fire safety education

Firefighters from Rockdale and DeKalb counties recently conducted fire safety education classes at Shoal Creek Elementary School. Shown here are, front row, left to right: Melissa Keefer, Shoal Creek counselor; Shauna Miller, Shoal Creek assistant principal; "Q;" DeKalb FSE Kristin Randall; DeKalb FSE Elizabeth Sizemore; DeKalb FSE Kristi Hill; Rockdale Lt. Chris Kozikowski; Rockdale FAO Stacy Smith; back row: Rockdale firefighters Josh Carr, Michael Morris, Chance Hall, Dan Holtslander and Michael Lee; Rockdale FSE Sharon Webb; and DeKalb FSE Beverly Thompson. -- Special  Photo

Firefighters from Rockdale and DeKalb counties recently conducted fire safety education classes at Shoal Creek Elementary School. Shown here are, front row, left to right: Melissa Keefer, Shoal Creek counselor; Shauna Miller, Shoal Creek assistant principal; "Q;" DeKalb FSE Kristin Randall; DeKalb FSE Elizabeth Sizemore; DeKalb FSE Kristi Hill; Rockdale Lt. Chris Kozikowski; Rockdale FAO Stacy Smith; back row: Rockdale firefighters Josh Carr, Michael Morris, Chance Hall, Dan Holtslander and Michael Lee; Rockdale FSE Sharon Webb; and DeKalb FSE Beverly Thompson. -- Special Photo

CONYERS -- Officers from Rockdale County Fire Rescue recently gave students at Shoals Creek Elementary School a refresher course on what to do in case of a fire.

Fire and Rescue was invited to pay a visit to the school where students who lost their lives in a fatal fire in January were enrolled. Fire departments from Rockdale County and DeKalb County partnered together to address the entire school on fire safety. Smoke alarms, home escape plans and stop, drop, and roll were some of the fire safety behaviors that were covered in the presentations.

DeKalb County Fire Rescue used their fire safety house to improve the effectiveness of the presentation. The safety house is a travel-trailer that is scaled down to a one-level house and allows children to experience a simulated fire situation in a home setting where the children practice their escape plan as the fire safety house fills with non-toxic smoke. "Q," a specially trained Dalmatian, was also used to teach fire safety behaviors to children verbally and physically.

Throughout the day more than 700 children were able to learn the importance of fire safety education.

"Both teachers and children raved about the presentation throughout the next week!" said Melissa Keefer, Shoal Creek counselor. "The enthusiasm and caring support these firefighters showed as they taught our children were phenomenal."

Keefer added that it was clear that the presentations made an impression on students.

"The students had some great questions to ask of the firefighters and took the information very seriously," Keefer said. "We learned later that many students had also done the 'homework' that the educators had asked them to do -- they had discussed their family safety plans at home.

"We know that lives were changed that day as families from our school went home and assessed their own homes for unsafe conditions," Keefer continued. "It was time well spent. Our teachers want to do this every year!"