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Silver City Firefighter David Gonzales talks to children from WNMU s Child Development Center about fire safety during a tour of the Fire Station on Monday to kick off Fire Prevention Week.

SILVER CITY — Fifty-two kids from Western New Mexico University's Child Development Center daycare visited Silver City Fire Department's Station No. 1 on Hudson Street on Monday as part of Fire Prevention Week.

The children got a tour of the station house, got to see where the firefighters sleep, saw the inside of a fire truck and got up close and personal with a firefighter in full firefighting gear.

Firefighter David Gonzales taught the kids about fire safety issues and encouraged them to know their addresses and phone numbers.

After touring the living room and sleeping quarters where the firefighters stay when they are on duty, the kids all lined up and each got to go inside the cab of a fire engine, before they headed back into the station house to watch Lt. Aric Ray put on his firefighting gear.

As Ray put on his bunker gear, mask and breathing apparatus, Gonzales explained that although firefighters may look scary when dressed in their mask and gear, they are the good guys and the kids should not be afraid of or hide from a firefighter in gear if they were ever in a home or building that was on fire.

At first the kids, most around 3 years old, were afraid of Ray in his mask and apparatus, but when he took it off, they recognized him, smiled and piled on him to give him a hug.

Before they left, the kids got treated to a dance show by Sparky the Fire Dog, and each got a cookie and a cup of juice.

The tour was part of the outreach Silver Fire is doing to educate kids about fire safety.


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"We will be seeing over 500 kids by the end of this week," Ray said.

Later in the week, firefighters will be going to WNMU's Child Development Center and Calvary Christian Academy, and today, 82 students from Stout Elementary School will tour Silver Fire Station 2.

To find out more about Fire Prevention Week programs and activities in Silver City, call Aric Ray, Fire Prevention Coordinator with the Silver City Fire Department (575) 313-3560 or email aray@silvercitymail.com.

To learn more about "Have Two Ways Out!" visit NFPA's Web site at www.firepreventionweek.org.

Keep your family safe

The Silver City Fire Department and the National Fire Protection Association urge residents to "Have Two Ways Out" and offer these tips of fire escape planning:

¥ Make a map of your home. Mark a door and a window that can be used to get out of every room.

¥ Choose a meeting place outside in front of your home. This is where everyone can meet once they've escaped. Draw a picture of your outside meeting place on your escape plan.

¥ Write the emergency telephone number for the fire department on your escape plan.

¥ Have a grown-up sound the smoke alarm and practice your escape plan with everyone living in your home.

¥ Keep your escape plan on the refrigerator and remind grown-ups to have your family practice the plan twice a year or whenever anyone in your home celebrates a birthday.

Fire facts

¥ According to the nonprofit National Fire Protection Association, one-third of Americans households estimate they thought they would have at least six minutes before a fire in their home would become life threatening. Unfortunately, the time available is often less.

¥ In 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires. These fires caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths, and $6.9 billion in direct damage.

¥ Nationally, one home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010.

Christine Steele can be reached at (575) 538-5893 ext. 5802.