Students at Belington Elementary School were visited by members of the Belington Volunteer Fire Department, Mayor Carlton Haller and Councilman Marshall Reed this week for a discussion on fire safety.
As part of the presentation, smoke detectors were handed out to students who didn't have operable smoke detectors in their homes already.
The distribution was inspired by the recent deadly fire on Arlington Avenue in Charleston, which killed seven children and two adults. The smoke detectors in that home were improperly installed or inoperable.
The Inter-Mountain photo by Melissa Toothman
Travis Ryan dresses up in his fire gear while his brother, Lt. Matt Ryan, presents a program on fire safety to students in Donna Endler’s kindergarten class at Belington Elementary School this week. More photos are available online at cu.theintermountain.com.
Principal Cindy Sigley of Belington Elementary School conducted a study and discovered that 20 percent of kids at the school did not have working smoke detectors in their homes.
Many local businesses partnered with the Belington Volunteer Fire Department, as well as various government elected and state officials of Barbour County, to provide operable smoke detectors to students.
"Once the word got out there, it progressed to a partnership," said Fire Chief Phil Hart.
"It just shows what everyone working together can accomplish."
Those who pooled together include Dingess Lumber, Ryan's Repair, Napa Auto Parts, Town & Country Chrysler, Stuart Sanitation, the Barbour County Commission, Sheriff John Hawkins, Assessor John Cutright, Prosecuting Attorney Leckta Poling, Delegate Mary Poling, D-Barbour; Sen. Bob Williams, D-Taylor; and Sen. Dave Sypolt, R-Preston.
"Initially our target group was elementary-age kids," Hart said. "We're going to expand the program up to the middle school, and as funding is available, our next group to expand into will be the senior citizens."
On Monday, Haller presented the check for the project to Hart in front of the other firefighters and the school principal. The smoke detectors were distributed to students following a presentation on fire safety conducted by Lt. Matt Ryan of the Belington Volunteer Fire department, beginning with Donna Endler's kindergarten classroom.
Firefighter Travis Ryan dressed in his gear to teach the young students what to expect if they are ever rescued from a fire. The students also were taught what information they would need to provide if they ever call to report an emergency and how to tell if their smoke detectors are working correctly.
The students in Endler's kindergarten class appeared to be very engaged by the presentation. Many raised their hands to ask questions or share knowledge they already learned.