Rancho Mirage fire engineer Mike Scholl knows exactly what to say to prevent kids from starting a fire.
“You’re going to burn your bed. You’re going to burn up your clothes. You’re going to burn up all your toys,” he said.
The audience, made up primarily of first and second grade students from Rancho Mirage Elementary and the Jewish Community School of the Desert, emitted a collective moan.
“I can tell you… [a fire] really hurts,” Scholl continued to say.
After getting a dose of safety lessons inside the Rancho Mirage public library, the group went outside to the parking lot where they got a closeup look at the vehicles and equipment that firefighters use everyday to save lives.
Firefighter Joe Papandrea showed them the “jaws of life.” “We use these tools to cut people out of cars when there’s a vehicle accident,” he explained to them.
Monday’s event was the first day of the city’s Fire Safety Days. Also, it was the city’s first time collaborating with its fire department to organize these events for Fire Prevention Week.
“Firefighters look a little scary,” city official Cathy Mitton said. “When a house fills up with smoke, children have been known to hide because they don’t know what’s going on. We want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Maria Espino attended the presentation with a two-year-old girl whom she babysits. She took the baby to the event so that the baby could learn between what’s right and wrong.
“[The baby] likes to get her hands on the stove, and we try to keep her away from there. So, we got to show her [examples],” she said.
Fire Safety Days continues Tuesday with third thru fifth grade students.