COVINGTON — Covington Elementary students got a visit from a special friend on Thursday, who taught the children fire safety and prevention through puppetry, magic tricks, and “edu-tained” them in the process.
In celebration of its 40th anniversary, the Firefighter Phil Program came to the school to not only teach about fire safety, but to create a positive relationship between students and their local police and firefighters. Covington firefighters and policemen were present and were introduced to the students at the beginning of the presentation.
“The Firefighter Phil Program allows us to convey the messages of fire prevention like nothing else could,” Lt. Chris Haines of the Covington Fire Department said. “Through puppet characters and magic, (students) hear the information and retain it better than they could with just a group of firefighters telling them the facts. It is a very special and effective program.”
Being edu-tained means the students are learning about fire safety by being entertained while still learning, but in a fun way. The edu-tainer Tom Rozoff, also known as Magic Tom, with his puppet pal Turbo the Turtle, taught students how a smoke alarm works and taught them essential rules to make sure the smoke alarm functions properly, along with other important safety tips.
Rozoff also introduced the puppet Bernie the Match to students and they learned from Bernie the dangers of matches and how they should not be played with. He reminded students that if their clothes ever catch on fire to stop, drop, cover their face, and roll.
“(The program) is a wonderful community benefit,” Principal Rick Fry said. “It’s a good way to kick off fire prevention week … it really shows the kids a lot of good measure and provides a good role model to look up to in the community.”
Rozoff and Turbo the Turtle taught students what to do in a fire emergency and how their families should practice fire drills at home throughout the year, plan at least two ways out and determine a meeting place where the family can meet during a real emergency.
Following the presentation, students received an activity book, and kindergartners and new students received smoke detectors. About 100 smoke detectors were given out on Thursday.
Haines is also vice president of Marias Technology, who donated the smoke alarms. Over 10 years ago, Marias and the Buckeye Insurance Group started the program to donate the smoke detectors to all Covington students.
“When Marias started business in Covington in the former Buckeye building, we felt it was important to continue this program. Together, we have donated over 1,300 smoke detectors to Covington students,” Haines said.
Reach reporter Amy Barger at (937) 451-3340 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.