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Lessons on fire safety start early with expo

By Staff
Local agencies spread word on emergency systems
By PETER WILLIAMS, Staff Writer
Crystal Marriner was helping plant seeds Saturday, seeds she hopes will bear fruit if local children are ever in an emergency situation.
Marriner is secretary-treasurer of the Beaufort County Fire Association and chairwoman for a Kids Fire Safety Expo at Lowes of Washington.
From building toy fire trucks to larger demonstrations, the focus was on safety and children.
Jerry Paul, a Sidney Volunteer Fire Department captain, died in an accident in August 2006 in Washington. He had been with the department since 1989.
Trucks from Sidney were just some of the dozen emergency vehicles on hand for the display Saturday.
Fire-related injuries are among the top-five most common injuries suffered by children under the age of 14 in North Carolina, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Web site. Last year in North Carolina, 58 children under the age of 14 died and 173 children were hospitalized as a result of fire-related injuries, according to the Web site.
Lowe’s provided kits so children could built their own fire truck.
Crews from the Chocowinity Fire Department were on hand to use the Jaws Of Life to tear open junk cars, just as they would in a real accident to get victims out. Another attraction was a trailer designed to teach children how to escape from a burning house.
The expo also let children see firefighters up close with and without their protective gear on. The sight of a firefighter with a mask and big yellow coat could scare some children, Marriner said.
Tucker Jackson didn’t need that lesson. The 3-year-old son of Wendy and Rusty Jackson is used to seeing his father dressed that way. Rusty has been a volunteer with the Bunyan Fire Department for the past 22 years, since the age of 14.
Tucker seemed very at ease sitting in the driver’s seat of one of Bunyan’s fire trucks.