PLAIN TWP. Elementary school students at St. Michaels Catholic School in Plain Township got a new perspective on a number of fire safety tips during a presentation on March 3. Kasey and Kali, two fire safety dogs, stopped by the school with their handler Jeff Owens to show the students how to stop, drop and roll among other fire safety tips.
Five-year-old Kasey and one-year-old Kali are two black Labrador retrievers who are specially trained to teach kids about fire safety and how to implement several tips if the kids ever find themselves inside a burning home or if they are on fire. Owens said the two dogs are also trained in search and rescue and are therapy dogs.
“Both the dogs will demonstrate the standard stop, drop and roll procedure used for putting out fire when someone’s clothing is burning,” Owens said. “They will also demonstrate other fire safety procedures such as checking a door to see if it is hot, telling an adult when finding matches or a lighter and learning two ways out of a burning house. At the end of the program, I’ll teach them about approaching a dog they don’t know."
The students were focused intently on Kasey and Kali while the two performed all of the safety procedures. Owens quizzed the group about what the fire dogs taught them. He also sang a song the kids can easily remember when needing to dial 911. The song was “Kasey the dog knows fire ain’t no fun, if you see a fire burning, dial 911.”
Other tips Owens and his companion dogs talked with the students about included:
- Never go back inside a burning building, not even to try to save another individual. Owens said that’s a job for firefighters only.
- Always have an escape plan that includes two ways to exit the building.
- Have a meeting with family to determine a meeting place outside in case the house is on fire, then count the noses of everybody to make sure everyone is there
- Owens said the body part that goes to sleep first every night is the nose. He told the students that they shouldn’t sleep in a room with a closed door because it will be more difficult to smell the smoke from a fire.
- Always feel the door to see if it is hot before exiting. If it isn’t hot, open the door and exit the room. If it is hot, try to stand in the middle of the room or go out of a window if possible.
- Don’t hide under a bed or in a closet because firefighters will have a difficult time finding people who are hiding. Instead, make as much noise as possible so that firefighters can hear that someone is in the room.
- Don’t ever pick up matches or a lighter, tell an adult where they are and let the adult pick them up.
“I thought inviting the fire safety dogs here would make a great presentation for the kids and another way to learn fire safety," said St. Michael's Principal Claire Gatti. “I’m impressed by the attention the students gave the dogs and the presenter. It was a great way to present the tips to the students."
The students were able to pet Kasey and Kali on their way back to their classrooms. The dogs patiently accepted pets and sometimes kisses from the close to 200 students.
Owens said the fire safety program has taught more than five million students nationwide. The program has been credited with saving 16 lives. It is the only full-time national touring fire presentation in the country.
The fire dogs are present at schools, local fairs and festivals. Koorsen Fire & Security is the host company that promotes the fire safety presentations. For more information or to schedule a visit, details can be found at www.kaseyprogram.org.