Two members of the Vista Fire Department visited Meadow Pond Elementary (MPES)—District Manager Thomas Ritchey, a member of one of the first classes to graduate from MPES, and firefighter Dominick Mangone. They offered age-appropriate programs for all grades. Kindergarters learned what to do if their clothing caught fire—stop, drop, and roll—while fourth graders practiced using fire extinguishers and fifth graders crawled through an actual smoke room on their hands and knees.
“A smoke detector is like a nose on the ceiling. It smells the air all day and night,” said Mr. Ritchey to a class of kindergarteners. “What should you do if a smoke detector alarm goes off?”
“Crawl on your hands and knees,” answered the students.
“If you’re in a public space, look for an exit sign,” said Ritchey. “They always lead to safety, never to a closet.”
“If your house is on fire, get out,” he continued. “MPES is easy. We are on the ground floor. You can always go out a window. If you are on the second floor, don’t jump. Open the window and yell. Wave a shirt, a towel, or a pillowcase. We assign a firefighter to look at all the windows of a burning building.”
“ Once you are out, stay out,” Ritchey said. “Look for your pets after the fire is out. We have rescued cats, dogs, and gerbils; we even saved a snake once.”