Children playing with fire cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries every year. According to National Fire Protection Association, pre-schoolers are the most likely to start these fires and are most likely to die in them.
These kids are ready to learn about fire safety. Sioux Falls Fire Inspector Russ Downs and Elvis the yellow puppet hound dog are trying to impress upon these pre-schoolers never play with matches when you play with fire you get burned.
Russ Downs says, "I think a lot of people have candles out, matches, boiling water and they don't give it a second thought. I think for families to just to be aware of it is important. The more conscious of it, the safer your home."
It's the 21st year Avera McKennan and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue have teamed up to teach burn prevention to children and they got a great venue this year with the Washington Pavilion joining the team. The 4 and 5 year old children in the audience were mesmerized by the message which is exactly what organizers wanted.
Betty Barto-Smith, a certified family life educator with Avera McKennan, says, "Even very young children can learn important skills that will them. One of which is the stop, drop and roll technique. The more practice they have will help them be familiar with it and the hope is if their clothes catch on fire, it would be second nature to stop, cover their face and roll back and forth to put out the fire."
Fire isn't the only way children get burned. Kitchen chemicals and unevenly cooked food in the microwave are also common causes.
Betty Barto-Smith says, "Check the bath temperature. Frequently children get scald burns and those are just as threatening to their health as any other kind of burn."
The puppeteers are hoping their hands are getting across a life saving message that is taken to heart and taken home.
Close to 600 pre-schoolers attended one of the four puppet shows at the Belbas Theater in the Pavilion.
Over the course of the next couple of months, Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and Avera McKennan will visit every kindergarten class in Sioux Falls to talk fire safety and burn prevention.