Fire escape plans earn students recognition

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Four students from John Small Elementary School got to ride in a fire engine and go about 100 feet the air on the aerial platform of another fire truck.

Two fourth-grade girls and two fifth-grade boys are the winner of the 2016 Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS Department’s Great Escape Plan Challenge’s program known as EDITH — Exit Drills in the Home. For the first time in the program’s 16-year history, two of the winning students came from one teacher’s classroom. That teacher is Amie O’Kane. The four students were treated to a pizza lunch at fire station No. 1 on Wednesday afternoon.

Students draw floor plans of their homes. The drawings are required to show all rooms, hallways, windows, door and exits of that student’s home. The submissions also must show locations of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. The drawings must include an outside meeting place for family members to gather in case of a fire. The four winning students are treated to a pizza luncheon at fire station No. 1.

Fire Lt. Josh Ingram, who conducts fire-safety educational activities at area schools, said he is impressed with the details of this year’s winning drawings. One drawing included street names and the location of a fire hydrant.

“We narrow it done to about 10 in each grade. … Because I know so many of the kids at the school, I have someone else come in to judge the drawings. I tell them the parameters, and they pick the winners,” Ingram said before presenting certificates of achievement to the winning students.

The students talked about what they learned from participating in the program.

“I learned that when you have a fire at your house, you get out as fast as you can,” said 9-year-old Anna Ange.

“We learned to always have an escape plan because whenever there’s a fire and you don’t have an escape plan, you might go to the wrong place, and then the fire might come to that place,” said Madison Swanner, 9.

“You need to rehearse the fire drill just in case somebody forgets it. You can remind them at that time,” said Gary Payne, 11.

“I learned it’s important to have an escape plan and share it with your family. If there is a fire, they will know what to do and where to go,” said Wyatt Campbell, 10.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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