As the children started to gather near the apartment complex management building, Douglas County Fire Chief Roderick Jolivette handed them replica fire helmets and a book.
“You all are now deputy fire marshals for the day,” Jolivette told the youngsters.
Jolivette and his three deputy chiefs took to the community to read and educate youth on fire safety.
The command staff spent a hour at the Douglas Village Apartment complex last week where they read and passed out popsicles.
“It is a part of our community engagement,” Jolivette said. “You always see a rise in fires during the summer time. We want to make sure that the children know about fire safety and what to do in case of a fire.”
Deputy Chief Eric Phillips read to the children and asked them questions.
“I love reading to kids,” said Phillips, who used to be a school teacher before joining the fire department in Charleston, S.C. “Through reading, you can spark their imagination. As a kid, reading was my get-away from everything.”
Jolivette picked a volunteer among the kids and he demonstrated the proper way to stop, drop and roll. They even had an impromptu fire drill for the kids before the property manager served them hotdogs, sodas and a popsicle treat.
“We have to keep pushing that fire safety message,” Jolivette said. “We will continue to be in the community.”
Douglas Village property
manager Clarice Buchanan
said she requested that the fire department come to her complex
to educate the kids.
“It gives them a sense of community,” Buchanan said.
Jolivette said they will be back once a month to touch on different subjects with the youth, including child car seat safety.
“I love engaging the community,” Phillips said. “We are planting the seeds with these youth.”