State fire marshal provides safety tips

State fire marshal provides safety tips
Dave Mast

Ashley Terry, state fire marshal and fire safety educator with the Ohio Department of Commerce Fire Prevention Bureau, provided possible life-saving fire safety tips for the seventh- and eighth-grade girls from Chestnut Ridge, Wise and Mt. Hope schools at Chestnut Ridge.

                        

When it comes to fire safety, today’s youth need all of the education they can get in dealing with fire safety issues and how to handle various situations when disaster strikes. The hope of the state fire marshal’s office is that education leads to avoiding injury and saving lives — possibly one’s own life.

As part of their day celebrating the annual miniature dream bedroom and MyPlate poster contest on Thursday, Nov. 2, the seventh- and eighth-grade girls from Chestnut Ridge, Wise and Mt. Hope schools sat collectively in the gym at Chestnut Ridge to listen to a special guest speaker.

While last year saw OSU Extension educator Kate Shumaker come in and help them make a scented body scrub, this year’s guest speaker had safety on her mind.

The keynote speaker was Ashley Terry, state fire marshal and fire safety educator with the Ohio Department of Commerce Fire Prevention Bureau.

Terry brought many important safety factors to light for the girls including how to properly use a fire extinguisher, something many young people and adults have never done.

“Introducing kids to a safe environment will always be extremely important,” Terry said. “Today, we discussed all types of safety issues including kitchen safety because almost all of the girls said they cook and work in the kitchen, so we talked at length about anything that could be hazardous inside and outside the oven.”

They also discussed home safety and home fire escape plans and the importance of being prepared in case an emergency should arise.

The fire extinguisher was the real highlight.

“Not many of any of these girls have ever used a fire extinguisher, and that is pretty typical,” Terry said. “The more they can get their hands on an actual physical fire extinguisher, the more prepared they will be should they ever have to use it, and in most cases seconds matter.”

Terry said several volunteers came forward to handle the fire extinguisher and performed quite well.

These types of visits are critical for the fire prevention bureau crew, and Terry keeps herself very busy traveling all over the North Central Region of Ohio to visit with school-age children, with 12 counties overall.

Terry, a professional firefighter and EMT who also serves as a fire-life safety educator, said she has stops scheduled to visit schools almost every day of the week and even some weekend days.

“We want to start informing kids as young as we can,” Terry said. “The sooner we can introduce fire safety to children and introduce little things piece by piece is going to be a win for everyone.”

She said getting to do very important and significant work by educating children on fire safety issues is rewarding, noting any given discussion at any school could result in the saving of lives.

“They learn proper safety techniques in fire safety or health safety, and they could end up saving their own lives or the lives of others,” Terry said.

She said the girls were very quiet and respectful, although as is usually the case, extremely quiet.

That may have been the case, but certainly the message of fire safety and the importance of being prepared sunk in and made an impact on each of the girls.


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