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Making fire safety fun

Jackson Bell

Four Burbank firefighters spent Tuesday playing house with Miller

Elementary School third-graders.

But instead of sipping tea and dressing dolls, firefighters taught


the students fire safety in the Kids Safety Trailer.

The trailer, donated to the Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena fire

departments from the Children’s Burn Foundation in Sherman Oaks, is

styled as a miniature home used for practicing fire emergencies. The


fire department will take the trailer to various elementary schools

through Nov. 19.

“I have done fire prevention at schools and we didn’t have the

resources like this in the past,” Burbank Fire Capt. Greg Rhoads

said. “The trailer is great because it’s more effective for kids than

just talking about it.”

The inside of the trailer is a scaled-down model of a home

equipped with a kitchen, stairs, bedroom and balcony.


Nontoxic smoke used on movie sets is also used to simulate a fire.

The third-graders giggled and squealed as they crawled through

smoke and down the ladder of the two-story trailer. Once they were

out of harm’s way, the students practiced calling 911 by using a red phone that connected them to one of the firefighters hidden in the

trailer’s control room.

“At this age, [the children] are left home alone and need to know

fire safety,” said third-grade teacher Nancy Bruhn. “The trailer is

wonderful because it teaches them more than the basics like stop,


drop and roll and 911.”

Capt. Ron Bell gave each student a homework assignment -- they

were supposed to call a family meeting to teach their parents and

siblings what they learned at the trailer.

“We don’t want to see these kids get hurt,” Bell said. “We hope

they take what they learned home to keep themselves and their family


Third-grader Marshall Briggs said he had a great time learning at

the trailer.

“I like the smoke because I am able to practice what happens in a

real fire,” Marshall said. “It’s great because it looks so real.”