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Episode 62: Why A West Jordan City Fire Truck is Part of This Lesson Plan

They are bringing fire and life safety lessons to classrooms throughout Jordan School District. In this episode of the Supercast, we follow West Jordan City Fire Department Public Education Specialist Becky Steeneck into an elementary school classroom. It is where young students are learning about everything from fire safety to first aid, smoke alarms and much more. In this class, a fire truck is an important part of the lesson plan.


Audio Transcription

(00:17):
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. On today's show, we follow West Jordan City Fire Department, Public Education Specialist, Becky Steeneck into an elementary school classrooms. She's been bringing fire and life safety lessons to classrooms throughout Jordan School District. In this class, young students are learning about everything from fire safety, first aid to smoke alarms, and much more. Let's start with Becky Steeneck and some second graders at Fox hollow Elementary. Becky, thanks for being on the Supercast today.

Becky:
Thank you for having me.

Superintendent:
Becky, tell us about your role with West Jordan Fire. It's a pretty new role, from what I understand, even just in the last year or so.

Becky:
Yes. I started in August of 2019. So just barely a year that we've started this. My title is Public EducationSpecialist, so I am developing all of the programs and all of the curriculum that we use to teach the community about fire and life safety

Superintendent:
And teaching the community about fire and life safety involved schools, of course. And that's why we're here, but there are other aspects to your job as well. Can you tell us just overall, what are your responsibilities related to public education?

Becky:
Absolutely. So you're right. We do a lot of community classes. We're starting CPR, First Aid and AED training courses. We're also doing a Babysitting Academy where we'll teach young kids how to be effective babysitters. We teach them about childcare and first aid and how to protect themselves while they're babysitting and be safe. We are going to be restarting our CERT class. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. So we teach people how to prepare their households for disasters and how to help their neighborhoods and their communities when that kind of thing happens. We're also looking at starting next year, some Junior Firefighter Academies where kids will get to come to the station and learn how to be firefighters. We're also going to be starting some Spanish speakers Emergency Preparedness Courses. Teaching those in Spanish for Spanish only speaking citizens and teaching them CPR and emergency preparedness and things like that. So I'm just looking at kind of the needs of the city and what people need to know and what they need to learn in order to be safe.

Superintendent:
That's a wide array of educational options. And the one that stood out to me, I've heard of many of those, but the Babysitters Academy is interesting. It sounds like a series of novels for tweens. Tell me more about that. The Babysitter Academy. I did some babysitting in my day for a little money babysitting. Yes. Did all right. I probably could have used an Academy before I started doing that. So tell us a little more about that.

Becky:
Yeah. it's really great. We're really happy with it. So, it's a three hour course that we offer after school to kids 12 to 14 years old. We'll go through and teach them some basic First Aid and CPR in order to keep the kids safe. And then we talk about age appropriate activities for the kids, because we don't want babysitters just going in and turning on the TV and not playing with the kids. We teach them to bring in age appropriate activities for the kids that they're babysitting. We also talk about how to care for infants like diaper changing and swaddling and things like that. We also talk about how to keep themselves safe while they're babysitting, because we want to teach kids how to make this sort of a career for themselves so that they can save money to use for school or other activities. We want them to market themselves in a safe way so we teach them how to keep themselves safe when they're putting out flyers or marketing themselves for their business. Also, they're not putting themselves in any risk of danger.

Superintendent:
That sounds very useful. And something that if kids participate in, they'll have skills they can use in a lot of circumstances, not just babysitting.

Becky:
Absolutely.

Superintendent:
Well, like I said, you have a wide range of options. And if someone who's listening wants to sign up for one of those CERT trainings or Babysitters Academy, what would they do to sign up for that? Where would they go?

Becky:
So it's just on our website. So if you go to www.westjordan.utah.gov/public-education, we have all of our classes listed there. So you can look at the fees, look at the schedule and there's a registration form to sign up.

Superintendent:
Great. And those are rotating classes offered at regular times throughout the year?

Becky:
Yeah, absolutely.

Superintendent:
One aspect of what you do, of course, is visiting classrooms. And I was able to watch just a little bit of what you were doing there, and it's really exciting to see how engaged the students are. Tell us about what you cover in those classes and what are some of the activities that you do with the kids?

Becky:
Yeah. So for each grade I do a different topic. That we can kind of scaffold on fire and life safety learning. So for example, in kindergarten we talk about dangerous things. So we talk about don't play with matches, always wear your helmet when you ride your bike, things like that.

Superintendent:
So good advice.

Becky:
Exactly. Then first grade we talk about escaping your house when there's a fire and how to do that. Second grade, we talk about our job in the city and how they call 9-1-1. Third grade we talk about burns and how to keep yourself safe from burns and preventing those. Fourth grade, we talk about First Aid and we get to practice some of those techniques. Fifth grade, we'll talk about disaster preparedness and it's really great for fifth grade. We've partnered with Red Cross to deliver their Pillowcase Project. So we've got a lot of fun materials that we bring in the class and talk to them about preparing for disasters and getting themselves ready before that happens. And then sixth grade, we talk about science of happiness. So we talk about coping strategies that the kids can use and just how to keep themselves happy in kind of a hectic world right now.

Superintendent:
I love that. It's all calibrated for and adjusted for the right age group and for the grade that you're speaking with. Are there certain things that kids are susceptible to at particular ages that we want to help them avoid?

Becky:
Absolutely. We look at that when we develop our curriculum. So for example, we look at the CDC and all of their statistics on what certain injuries or illnesses happen to kids at certain ages. And then we develop the curriculum based on those injuries so that we can help prevent them at that age.

Superintendent:
That's really exciting to know that there is this deliberate effort from West Jordan Fire to say, Hey, we know that these are the risks that students of this age might encounter. So we're going to help educate them in advance to try to help prevent some of those issues from ever happening. Now you mentioned the Pillowcase Project. Tell more about that.

Becky:
It's the program that the Red Cross developed. They started it after Hurricane Katrina. One of their volunteers noticed that after the hurricane, kids were carrying around their belongings and their pillowcase because they didn't have anything else and everything they had was destroyed. So that's what started this program for them. So we'll go into fifth grade classes and we bring them a pillowcase and we let them decorate it. And we talk to them about area related emergencies or disasters. So for Utah, we are particularly susceptible to earthquakes and wildfires. So we talk about earthquakes and wildfires with them and when that happens and what you should do when that happens. And then we get to talk about preparing your emergency kit for that. So what things you should put in your emergency kit and how you should evacuate your house when these disasters happen.

Superintendent:
What are some of the interesting questions that you get from kids in classes? I'm sure that when you're meeting with students from kindergarten to sixth grade and they may not have talked with someone from the Fire Department before so you're going to get a lot of questions. So what are you hearing from kids in classes?

Becky:
Love to ask, what is the biggest fire that you've ever fought?

Superintendent:
Anything fire-related that you'd love to talk about?

Becky:
Absolutely, which is kind of funny because they don't realize that's not actually what we do for most of our job. We've done such a good job over the years of preventing fires from happening that only about 20% of our job is fire-related anymore. It's actually 80% medical. But kids love to ask about what the biggest fire is and how many fires we fight.

Superintendent:
When we come back, the firetruck arrives at Fox Hollow, and we talk with some students about their experience in the same class.

Jordan Education Foundation:
Hello. My name is Steven Hall. I'm the Director of the Jordan Education Foundation. Every year, the Jordan Education Foundation, together with magical volunteers, helps provide Christmas for students who might otherwise go without during the holiday season. While many things have changed since the pandemic, one thing does remain the same. That's our desire to help students in need this year. Three major donations from Larry H. Miller Charities, Discover Card, Kennecott Rio Tinto, and many other individuals, together with the support and the generosity of Walmart in South Jordan, we will provide Christmas for at least 400 students in Jordan School District. We need your support. We need you to help actually go to Walmart and collect the gifts that the students have chosen online. This will allow us to offer a safe curbside delivery for kids and their families. Join us in bringing smiles and love to students individually.

Really, during this holiday season, please sign up to volunteer to shop for these students on December 7th, 8th, 9th, or 10th, between the hours of 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM. The left side, the sign up is jefchristmasforkids.org. There you can go and sign up as a volunteer and you can choose a date to shop, spread the word for others to sign up as well. Be one of Sandra's helpers this holiday season and provide Christmas for kids. Thank you so much from every one of us here at the Jordan Education Foundation.

Fireman:
Do you guys all have your backpack for school?

Students:
This is our backpack.

Fireman:
Anyone tell me what this tool is. You know what it's called?

They called us the "Key to the City" because it can open up any door. Is this a tool that we use to open up doors that are locked or we can kind of break them open. How about this?

Students:
Axe

Fireman:
Right. What do we use this for?

Students:
Chop holes in doors or chop holes in the roof.

Fireman:
Why are we going to chop holes in the roof. It's kind of weird. Huh? Why? Shout it out. We want all that smoke to get out of the building. Right? We create a chimney. We just create a hole in the ceiling. We want all that smoke to get out that keeps it from getting trapped inside the house so that you guys can breathe longer if you're stuck inside.

Superintendent:
Who knows the difference between a fire truck and a fire engine? Okay. Right here. Tell me what's the difference?

Student:
The firetruck has a ladder.

Superintendent:
But which one of these is a fire engine?

Student:
That one.

Superintendent:
That's correct. What else did you guys learn in class today?

Student:
In the older days, they didn't breathe in so much smoke so they would get their beards wet with water and then they would suck them.

Superintendent:
They would suck on their wet beard to keep smoke out of their face. Wow. That is something I did not know for sure. What did you learn about calling 9-1-1 in class today?

Student:
That when you call 9-1-1, they'll like ask you a question  when you're calling them.

Superintendent:
How do you call 9-1-1 on a phone that's locked?

Student:
There is an emergency button that you would press, and then you call 9-1-1. You have to memorize your address, because they'll ask you what address you have. So you have to always memorize it.

Fireman:
Becky talked to you guys about not breathing smoke, right? What do you do to not breathe smoke? What do you do? You just yell it out. Get down low you guys, get down low, right? You don't want to raise that smoke. That goes up high. Do you guys got to get down low to get out of the house.  We have our air tanks. We have compressed air in this bottle, and then we have our mask that we wear so that we can breathe air.

Superintendent:
We're back with Becky. What do you like most about being in class with students?

Becky:
I love the interaction. I love getting to talk to the kids and hearing about their questions and concerns. I feel like that helps me build a better program to hear about what they're concerned about and what they're thinking about in their emergencies.

I also love getting to build a curriculum. That's helping the students be safer in their lives. So I like to see that the work I'm putting in to help prevent some of these disasters from happening. Seeing how that plays out with the students and how they take it in. I just love getting to know that I'm making a difference by helping these kids be safer.

Becky:
Although you don't always get the accolades when something doesn't happen, we normally pay attention to what does happen. That's really the focus is making sure these things don't happen in the first place. And it must be very rewarding to know that the kids are prepared for what, for a lot of things that may come their way.

Becky:
Yeah, I absolutely love it. Typically, after the class we get to have the fire truck come and the firefighters will do some interaction with them and show them different things on our fire trucks. And they'll ask them some of the questions that I covered in class, and it's very rewarding to see that the kids be able to answer so quickly. And so it's just very satisfying to know that they have this knowledge now and they're prepared for what comes next.

Superintendent:
Well, like I said, when I was in the class, I could just tell that you really have their attention. And they were very interested in knowing more. So we're thrilled to have you in our classrooms and really excited that students are getting this opportunity. I spoke with the chief and he said that his goal really is to make sure that every student that comes through West Jordan schools have had interaction with the Fire Department and has the skills to help prevent injuries and accidents, and know how to respond in an emergency. I think that's a great goal and we love that you're here helping meet that.

Becky:
Oh, we appreciate that. I mean, that's definitely the purpose of this position. We want every student in West Jordan to have this opportunity to get this information and to be prepared for whatever disaster or emergency comes upon them.

Superintendent:
Tell us what are some of the things that firefighters will point out to the kids when they have the truck here at the school.

Becky:
One of the big things that the firefighters talk about is their turnout gear. That's all of the fancy equipment that we wear when we go into fight a fire. We like to put that on and discuss it with the kids because often if it's the first time a kid has seen us in all of that gear, it can be kind of scary. And we don't want that because if we have to go into their home when it's on fire and rescue them and we don't want them to be afraid of us. We want them to come to us. So we put on all of that equipment to kind of get them familiar and comfortable with how we look and how we sound in the mask so that they feel a little more comfortable coming towards us if that emergency arises. And then we do have a little bit more fun showing the firetruck, showing some of our tools and going on the sirens and the lights and everything. So it's pretty fun for the kids. It's really the sirens and the lights are going to be the crowd pleaser.

Superintendent:
It makes a lot of sense that you would want them to be comfortable seeing a firefighter in the turnout gear. Because at that point you want them to trust the person in what can be an intimidating you.

Becky
Absolutely.

Superintendent:
Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you will do today. We'll see you.

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