Volunteers for a local non-profit are trying to increase fire-safety awareness at a time when it matters most.
Marcella’s Community Safehouse, an organization dedicated to educating children about common household dangers, will conduct a fire-safety program in the Emma Kelly Theater at the Averitt Center for the Arts Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The free program — open to anyone age 14 or younger — is designed to arm children with information about properly handling household emergencies, said Marcella Jones, President of Marcella’s Community Safehouse.
“We use a portable safehouse as an educational tool, or prop, to allow children to come inside and practice fire and household safety,” Jones said. “On Saturday, the safehouse will be set up on stage and children will have the opportunity to come into the house to learn the safety techniques.”
The safety program is timely, as it occurs during the year’s winter months, when residential blazes are most common.
According to the United States Fire Administration, which advocates learning and closely following safety tips during winter, the influx of household fires is due, in part, to an increase in cooking and heating fires as well as holiday decorations and winter storms that interrupt power and cause people to rely on alternative heating sources.
Saturday’s program will teach children methods for successfully escaping fires and addressing a disaster, in the unfortunate event their home becomes part of the troubling statistics.
“We will teach kids how to test a heated door, locate exit routes and crawl under smoke — created by a fog machine,” she said. “Also, we teach them how to dial 911 and explain the nature of their emergency; and to locate a safe meeting spot outside to wait for emergency services to arrive.”
Marcella’s Safehouse, which also conducts First Aid/CPR, Safe Sitter and Fire Extinguisher training programs throughout the community, was invited by the Averitt Center to provide the fire-safety course.
“We wanted to make sure that children were aware, particularly during the cold winter months, of what to do during an emergency situation at their home,” said Tim Chapman, Executive Director of Averitt Center for the Arts. “We thought this may be a creative experience for the children and also include an important educational component about fire safety.”
For more information about the program, people can contact the Averitt Center for the Arts by calling (912) 212-2787, or Marcella’s Community Safehouse at (912) 489-7233.
Jeff Harrison can be reached at (912) 489-9454.