Students, teachers learn about fire safety (Video)
Oct. 10, 2012 at 5:10 a.m.
Updated Oct. 11, 2012 at 5:11 a.m.
The petite fourth-grade teacher, swallowed by the fire gear - boots, helmet and fire suit - started the day Wednesday by using the Jaws of Life to demolish a car.
Egged on by cheers, squeals and jumping students, she didn't stop until the roof of the vehicle was completely cut off.
"I cut the roof off a car. I can't believe it," said Laci Harryman, shaking her head and wiping the sweat off her forehead as she crawled out of the stifling fire suit. "It was extremely hot and the gear - it is pretty heavy."
Harryman, who teaches at Rowland Elementary School, was one of many fourth grade teachers and students from around the district learning about fire safety at the Victoria Fire Department's Project F.I.R.E., held at the Victoria Community Center Arena.
"It was awesome, because she got to destroy stuff," one of Harryman's students, Christopher Thompson, 9, said. "I was like, "Go Ms. Harryman!"
Victoria Fire Marshal Tom Legler said when they can't involve the kids in the demonstrations, for safety reasons, they use the teachers as volunteers.
"If you involve the teachers, the kids have a vested interest in what is going on," Legler said. "If we just have our guys doing the demonstrations, they lose interest. It keeps them engaged."
Another safety demonstration had the kids pairing up to shoot down safety cones with a fire hose.
"I was like, "Oh, shoot!" Thompson said about when the water started coming out of the hose. "I got to hold it and it was heavy. I learned we had to be a team."
Roger Stuart, a volunteer firefighter in Inez, taught students the importance of team work in working the hoses.
"One thing about fire fighting is you go in as a team, so no one gets hurt," Stuart told the class as they picked partners. "So we go in two and two."
Project F.I.RE., which has been on hold since 2009 for financial reasons, was brought back by the Fire Marshal's Office and sponsors this year because of its importance, Legler said.
"We do this to teach kids various safety methods - always wear your seatbelts, crawl in smoke, things like that. But it also shows them the different tasks we do and might get some of these kids interested in becoming a firefighter," Legler said.
Other demonstrations included hazardous materials, emergency medical services, a PHI helicopter demonstration and a technical rescue demonstration.