Red-hot lesson for students |

Red-hot lesson for students

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Don’t put the toaster in the sink. Don’t put metal tongs in the toaster. Don’t put water on that grease fire.

Those were some of the lessons reiterated by Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District firefighters and echoed by a visiting class of Zephyr Cove Elementary second-graders during a 45-minute fire safety period.

The highlight of the session was a visit to the Fire Safety House, a trailer equipped to provide education on preventing and dealing with fires.

Mark Novak, a fire paramedic with Tahoe-Douglas, said children and seniors are the two segments of the population most likely to be harmed in a fire. Thus the reason for fire education, Novak said.

“When you can interact with kids and protect them from being hurt, that’s the most rewarding part of the job,” he said.

After a 15-minute video, students were ushered into the Fire Safety House for tips on fire-proofing the kitchen and an exercise on what to do during a house blaze.

A smoke detector, first aid kit and a fire extinguisher should be in the kitchen at all times, Novak advised a group of students.

The paramedic also made sure the students memorized the mantra of “water and electricity don’t mix.”

After the kitchen segment was over, Novak led the children to the heart of the trailer where the lesson was evading a room fire.

A trailer door was heated and non-toxic smoke filled the small room. Students were instructed to test the door for heat with the back of their hand, stay low and exit in a calm manner.

At the end of the lesson, student Charlie Manoukian had an idea of the origin of the smoke.

“Maybe they burnt maple syrup because the smoke smelled like maple syrup,” he said.

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