For 25 years Avera McKennan has partnered with Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to teach fire safety and burn awareness to little children. Nancy Naeve Brown went to the Washington Pavilion to see how a cowboy, a fireman & a bright yellow dog are stopping, dropping and rolling.
Sioux Falls Fire Inspectors Russ Downs and Shannon Galbreath along with Avera McKennan Certified Family Life Educators Betty Barto-Smith and Doniese Wilcox got a little help from some of their long time friends to teach pre-schoolers, for one, never play with matches cause when you play with fire you get burned.
It's the 25 anniversary of this free puppet show and this partnership between Sioux Fall Fire Rescue, Avera McKennan and most recently the Washington Pavilion who provides the perfect venue for a captive audience which is saying something for this age group.
Doniese Wilcox, Certified Family Life Educator with Avera McKennan says, "Puppets are important. The kids all learn their names really quickly, they all have names. They relate to puppets. Kids don't always understand at this age the difference between real and pretend. They think they are real or magical. It gives a whole new dimension to use puppets."
For a lot of these little faces, this is their first introduction to burn awareness from a real life fireman.
Fire Inspector Russ Downs says, "Just to be aware there are dangerous things out there and if you see something like that tell you folks. If you see other kids doing something dangerous, stay away from it and then tell somebody."
Avera McKennan also hands out some materials when the kids leave to reinforce what they just learned. They give them a Stop Drop and Roll sticker. A bath thermometer so they don't get scaled in hot water and a coloring book to remind them to call 911 if they get help.
Stop, drop and roll: 4 little easy to remember words for these 3 and 4 year olds that could prevent major burns if their clothes catch on fire.
Russ says, "Stop drop and roll. Hopefully if they didn't play with fire they wouldn't need it, but kids are curious and don't realize how dangerous it is."
Fire rescue says there have been 11 fires so far this year involving children, if they can decrease that number by even one, Elvis the hound dog has done his job!
500 pre-school aged children and younger attended one of the four burn awareness puppet shows this week at the Washington Pavilion.