Flash forward to fire safety

Kindergarteners Joaquin Hill and Le’Asiah Savoy demonstrate Stop, Drop and Roll with firefighter superhero Flash Max.

Fire Prevention Week, typically the first week of October, was celebrated at Mary B. Neal Elementary School with Flash Max and his sidekick Al Arm coming for a visit with kindergarteners and giving them an assignment to take back to their parents.

Flash Max told the students about the importance of being prepared in their homes for a fire no matter when it might occur. “Most fires happen at night,” he explained. “And at night, your nose goes to sleep and can’t smell the smoke, that’s why it’s important to have smoke alarms in your home to wake you up.”

Along with a smoke alarm, that will only alert people to a fire, Flash Max explained that an escape route is needed if the fire is outside a bedroom door. Opening a window and calling for help is a good way to get to safety. If a person hears the alarm, she should roll out of bed, crawl on the floor to her door, touch the door, if it’s cold leave the room crawling out on the floor; if it’s hot, go to the window, open it and call for help. Never jump out of the window from upstairs, Flash Max said.

He gave the students several sayings to remember “Don’t Hide, Go Outside, Stay Low and Go, Stop, Drop and Roll.”

Along with the sayings, the students had an assignment.

“Go home and create an escape plan from every room in the house. Know how to get to safety outside and decide where you will meet the rest of your family,” Flash Max told the students.

Flash Max said it’s not enough to just decide on a plan, it has to be practiced too. Plans only get good at something if they are practiced. The students also were instructed to check smoke alarms and be sure they are in working order and that the batteries are fresh.

Mike Furman, aka Flash Max, is a professional firefighter in Fairfax County, Va., assigned to the Penn Daw fire station where he holds the rank of master technician. He is also a life member and past captain of the La Plata Volunteer Fire Department. He has developed the character Flash Max and Al Arm to help teach children about the dangers of fire as well as fire safety.