Boght Hills fights fire

Officials, fire department say message getting through to students

Firefighters Bryan Natoli and Joe Laughlin, show Bought Hills Elementary students a fire truck Thursday, Oct. 13.

Firefighters Bryan Natoli and Joe Laughlin, show Bought Hills Elementary students a fire truck Thursday, Oct. 13. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— Students at the Boght Hills Elementary School got a crash course on fire prevention safety on Thursday, Oct. 13, from the Boght Hills Community Fire Department as part of National Fire Prevention Week.

A tour of a fire truck and a mock house were provided to students at the school. The demonstrations were provided to children from grades kindergarten through second grade, while students from third grade through fifth grade sat through a presentation and discussion of fire safety tips put on by the Colonie Fire Prevention and Investigation Department.

Patrick Knapek, a station keeper at the Boght Hills Community Fire Department, said the fire department wants to show children at a young age how useful the fire department can be for the community and also some of the different equipment firefighters use during a fire or a wide variety of other incidents.

“For instance, today we brought our rescue truck, which carries not only fire suppression equipment, but also first aid equipment and extrication equipment,” Knapek said. “We also carry water rescue equipment and hazardous material equipment.”

Representatives from the fire department provided what they call “public education” to many of the students and gave them some fire safety tips, such as not plugging too many electronics into an outlet, not playing with matches and lighters and also when to tell an adult about a possible fire hazard they see.

“We’re just trying to educate the kids that if you see something, say something,” Knapek said.

Ben Stevens, a fire protection specialist with the Town of Colonie’s Fire Prevention and Investigation Department, recalled a story of when a child had a small fire in his house and called the fire department.

“I did this program last year at a different school in Colonie and within a day or so a kid had a small fire in the house, he was home alone,” Stevens said. “I was told that the people responded to the house that he knew what do because he had learned it from one of our assemblies and what information to give. He was able to do the right thing and get the help that he needed. I listened to the 911 call and he did a great job. … He was calm and did exactly what he was supposed to do.”

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