Miss Teen Nevada brings fire safety education to Fritsch Elementary

North Lake Tahoe Fire District Public Education and Information Officer Tia Rancourt educates Fritsch Elementary kindergartners how to evacuate their bedroom in case of a fire.

North Lake Tahoe Fire District Public Education and Information Officer Tia Rancourt educates Fritsch Elementary kindergartners how to evacuate their bedroom in case of a fire.

Kindergartners at Fritsch Elementary School learned the importance of fire safety Tuesday as a part of Fire Prevention Month.

Ms. Donaldson’s class went through a simulation of what happens when a fire starts and smoke fills a room, to teach the students how to safely and effectively get out of a burning house.

The North Lake Tahoe Fire District brought its fire safety house — a small trailer — to the elementary school as a learning tool. After teaching the kids what to do in a fire, firefighters released fake fog to stimulate smoke.

“It is good for them to practice when they are young, so they don’t panic when it happens,” said Mark Regan, North Lake Tahoe fire marshal. “They are young and they get nervous and we want to teach them early and not be afraid of firefighters in fire gear and not to be scared in that situation.”

October is Fire Prevention Month, and fire departments are visiting schools to teach kids about the importance of fire safety and what to do in that situation.

Regan said that the objective is to make sure the kids are educated so they don’t get as scared in that situation and what to do in a fire, including making sure that they don’t get scared and try to hide from the firefighters.

At Fritsch, the students were split into two groups, one was in a back bedroom with Lake Tahoe Fire District public education officer Tia Rancourt, where they learned to feel the door with the back of their hand and to find an alternate route and climb out the window. The second group was in the living room of the trailer with Miss Teen Nevada Paris Regan where she was teaching them fire safety tips such as not leaving flammable material by a fireplace.

“It is important to not just talk to the kids about fire safety, but to have them do it because in stressful situations your brain will kick in and know what to do and that is what we have the hands-on experience,” Mark Regan said.

For Miss Teen Nevada, teaching students about fire safety is something that is very important to her. Her father Mark, had been coming to Fritsch since she was in kindergarten to teach the kids about fire safety. Now a senior in high school, she works with her dad and goes to the schools as one of the presenters. One of her platforms for her pageant career is fire safety.

“Fire safety is near and dear to my heart,” Paris said. “I use it as my pageant platform because it is unique and different. But my favorite part is when the kids are able to relate and it is good to see how they know their stuff.”

The instructors taught the kids to drop to the ground, stay low and find two possible routes for how to get out of the house before going to a family meeting spot away from the fire and calling 911. After taking questions from the kids, each student got a goodie bag of fire safety tools and their own firefighter’s hat. At the end, Mark Regan showed the kids some of the technology that the firefighters use, including the beeping tracking device in case a firefighter gets injured inside a fire.

“I like hearing the beeping because it was cool,” said 5-year-old Piper J. “I learned a whole lot like that you should stop, drop and roll and I liked that because it’s fun to roll.”

For the rest of the month, North Lake Tahoe and Carson City fire departments will be with the local schools teaching them various aspects of fire safety.

“It is important to get that education out to the kids by doing these,” Mark Regan said.


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