Summer emphasizes fire safety

To the applause of his classmates, it was finally Daejon Johnson’s turn to begin.

The Starkville High School junior hit a tire 50 times with a sledgehammer, carried weights around a cone and pulled a weighted pipe as he mocked up stairs.

Finally, an exhausted Johnson completed the obstacle course on Tuesday at Fire Station 2 on Airport Road – a course similar to the men’s and women’s with the Starkville Fire Department completed. For Johnson and his 20 classmates in SHS Law and Public Safety Class II, the drill was part of their final exam.

“This (hurdle race) is very exciting and very tiring,” Johnson said as he caught his breath. “It’s a good opportunity to come here because we learned all this in class.

Also as part of Tuesday’s program, the students performed a simulated search and rescue by following a hose through a dark, fog-filled room wearing a firefighter’s face mask.

“As a teacher, I can’t instill those values,” said teacher Heather Fair. “At the same time, parents and social groupings alone cannot produce complete individuals. It takes community, and that’s what Chief (Charles) Yarbrough and the Starkville Fire Department give us. When the school and the community work together, it promotes student success.

As school draws to a close in the Golden Triangle, students will start staying home again and summer will kick off in full swing. As summer approaches, each fire department sees a different set of issues.

Some students, like Johnson, learn about fire safety in their classes, and he said he felt more confident knowing what to do in certain situations to keep him safe.

“We learn different scenarios,” Johnson said. “For example, we learn that in a grease fire, you’re not supposed to pour water on it. We dive into fire safety, and we hit hard.

Yet others have not received such focused fire safety training. In Columbus, Fire and Rescue Chief Duane Hughes said the COVID-19 pandemic has kept them from visiting schools regularly for the past two school years.

Duane Hughes

“I think the calls are going to increase this summer just because people have been restricted by the COVID-19 quarantine, and I really see them coming out in big numbers this summer,” Hughes said. “It’s really good that we can get out and reconnect as long as we keep safety in mind. … Due to COVID we haven’t been allowed into schools for two years so we have a generation of young people there who haven’t been exposed to fire safety education. It’s really important that we get back into the schools this fall.

For students left home alone, it is important that children know how to call 9-1-1 immediately and leave the building and not return inside. Hughes said the CFR’s average response time to calls is two minutes after the truck leaves the station, so no one should be rushing out to try and save someone or something.

Grass fires are a commonality that the SFD, CFR, and Lowndes County Volunteer Fire Department see each summer. Yarbrough said certain safety measures need to be in place before anyone starts burning weed.

Charles Yarbrough

“People tend to burn their grass in the summer,” Yarbrough said. “If they do, they need to make sure they keep a reliable water source within 50 feet.”

Grill fires aren’t very common for chefs, but Hughes noted that improper disposal of coals can often lead to fires hours later. He insisted on not throwing away the coals and ashes that are still hot.

neal austin

Although fireworks are not permitted within the city limits of Columbus and Starkville, rural services do receive calls related to fireworks.
LCVFD Chief Neal Austin stressed the importance of knowing the weather conditions in the area, such as when it last rained, as well as wind speed and direction.

“If it’s really dry in July, we see grass fires,” Austin said. “Sometimes people set off fireworks too close to a structure and dry shingles can catch fire and set an entire structure ablaze. It all depends on the weather. »

Water Safety and Heat Exhaustion
All three fire departments respond to rescue missions, and during the summer months many of these rescue missions are water related. When it comes to incidents in and around water, especially lakes, rivers and streams, the three chiefs suggested always wearing a life jacket and never going alone.

Austin said the LCVFD responds to calls in streams where someone misjudged the currents.

“The biggest thing we see is people underestimating the current,” Austin said. “It’s usually not the big river that we see this problem. It’s usually our coves and other things that people like to ride on intertubes. People underestimate currents and eddies or how far they are from shore. Always swim with someone and always wear a life jacket.

Yarbrough said SFD answers many calls for heat exhaustion, and while it’s impossible to dodge the heat on a Mississippi summer, it’s important to drink plenty of water and get some energy. shade or a place to try to cool off.

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