• Last modified 450 days ago (March 2, 2023)


Fire departments to get new teaching tool

Staff writer

County fire departments soon will give fire safety presentations using an inflatable house that teaches children how to escape, how to use extinguishers, and kitchen and fireplace safety.

The house, made by a Dallas company, costs $12,655 and will be used by all departments in the county. A donation from Sunflower Wind will pay for the house.

It comes complete with instructions for exit drills and other safety procedures. It can be used indoors or outdoors and has non-toxic, water-based “smoke” to simulate burning.

Children crawl through the house, locate an escape route, and crawl to assigned safety locations.

Marion assistant fire chief Eric Hardey said he’d been looking for a new way to do safety presentations at Marion Elementary School.

“I wanted to try to reach out and find some different ways to reach out to the kids,” Hardey said. “That’s how I found this company in Dallas that makes this.”

Other fire chiefs came on board with the idea when Hardey discussed it at a chiefs meeting.

“My plan at first was to raise donations,” he said. “Someone suggested I talk to Sunflower Wind.”

The wind farm agreed to pay 100% of the cost.

Each house is unique.

“We had to come up with an image to put on the side of the house,” Hardey said.

Western Associates designed a crest that reads “Marion County Firefighters.”

“I wanted to get this and allow every school in the county to be able to use this,” he said. “We will make it available for local events such as Threshing Days and Old Settlers Day.”

Hardey said he thought firefighters’ role was bigger than simply putting out fires.

“Part of us being volunteer firefighters is not just to respond to fires,” he said. “I think it’s part of our job to teach fire safety.”

Last modified March 2, 2023