Hennepin Fire Truck Gives Ride to School for Children with Best Escape Plans

Image credit: News Tribune
It’s not every day you get to be picked up for school by a fire truck.

Monday, two members of the Hennepin Fire Department picked up three Putnam County elementary students to bring them to school in a fire truck.

“This is unbelievable!” said third-grade winner Marley DeWolfe of Magnolia, who said she’s never ridden in a fire truck before Monday.

The department teaches the students about fire safety during Fire Prevention Week, which was Oct. 8-14, but the department wants the messages to stick with the students, said Quentin Buffington, firefighter/fire prevention officer/public information officer. Buffington drove the fire truck Monday with Dan Zilm, assistant fire chief.

The department then introduced an optional project to the students.

To be eligible to win the ride, the students had to complete and return a drawing of their home that included two ways of exit from each room and indicate the location of smoke alarms. The students also had to write down an emergency phone number and a meeting place outside the home in case of an emergency. After seeing all those pieces of information, the firefighters narrowed the completed entries down to the best plans.

“This is way better than riding the school bus,” said fifth-grade winner Brooklyn Brester of Mount Palatine. “Can you guys pick us up after school too?” Brester asked Buffington and Zilm.

Buffington said this has been going on for years, and he doesn’t know of any other local departments that do this for the students.

After dropping the kids off at school, an assembly was held to remind the students about fire safety.

“I’m very proud of you,” Buffington told all the students at the assembly. “You remembered everything I taught you.”

“The students not only enjoy it,” said principal Courtney Balestri, “it also has an effect on their safety, which is priceless to us.”

The three winners also received a $25 Amazon gift card, and three students were honorable mentions who got $15 Subway gift cards.

Buffington said more than 100 students submitted escape plans.

Source: News Tribune