Every year, when Fire Prevention Week rolls around, you hear “a lot” and “very” in the words of the two main participants: Firefighters and children.

“Best Day Ever!” exclaimed a Kindergarten student last year, as he rode around his town on top of a fire truck, one of the Fire Prevention Week traditions in many communities, including Vinton and Shellsburg.

“Best day of the fire department,” said Bob LaGrange, the retired Vinton firefighter who stopped by last year, just a few months before his death, as Vinton firefighters gave tours of the fire station to Tilford students.

Last year, at Shellsburg, long-time firefighter Jim Mott was reviewing with second graders some of the safety lessons the firefighters teach every year – lessons that we as adults still have memorized:

  • 911
  • Stop, drop, and roll
  • Find your family meeting place

As he was reciting many of these lessons, Mott asked a student a question. The student answered correctly.

“I see you remembered what we taught you last year,” Mott told the child.

“And in Kindergarten,” replied the second grader.

Fire Prevention Week is back, and all over the nation (and Benton County) firefighters are making plans to visit schools, welcome students to their fire stations, give rides, and conduct preparation drills like Operation E.D.I.T.H (Exit Drills in the Home).

We want to take a moment to thank all of our fighters in all of our towns (all of our departments rely totally on volunteers) for their countless hours of service, training, caring for the fire stations, trucks and equipment, and for being there, and being ready, at every moment of the day and night.

And we’d like to encourage you to say thanks, to participate in as many activities as possible, and to speak to your children (and listen to them) about the lessons they bring home from school.

Many of our local departments offer meals during this time of a year. These fund-raisers help provide funds for necessary equipment, and they unite each community around this essential service. Be sure to stop and support them!

Thank You, ALL Benton County Fire Departments!