SHELDON — When it comes to personal safety, Sheldon Elementary School wants its students aware and prepared for all safety hazards at school and at home.

Students from kindergarten through second grade rushed one classroom at a time into the humid afternoon air to get a look at Sheldon Volunteer Fire Department’s (SVFD) big red Engine 1 fire truck on Monday, June 5.

Clad in SVFD apparel, veteran firemen Darren Raymond and Bob Teague arrived at their old elementary school ready to educate students about proper fire safety procedures.

Joanna Jerose, Sheldon students

Sheldon students Addison McEnany, left, Eva Whitehead, center are helped down from the fire truck by Home School Community Outreach Coordinator Joanna Jerose.

Five years into teaching this lesson at Sheldon, Raymond says learning about fire safety at a foundational level can be both a fun and educational moment for young students. “I like going in and talking to the kids because they listen very well and love seeing this stuff out here.”

Thanks to his firefighting dad, Raymond’s interest in fire rescue was sparked early in his life. “I started doing this because when I was little, I saw my dad go and fight a fire, so that’s what drew me to it,” says Raymond, who is now applying those lessons he learned as a youth to this future generation of Vermonters.

Raymond says these conversations can help children and their parents plan more effectively for potential fire or chemical hazards. “You don’t want them to panic when stuff hits the fan, you want to stay focused, calm and get out if they can,” he says. “And the more [we] talk about it, the more it gets kids aware and they stay calm.”

Approximately one-quarter of the 135-200 calls SVFD received in 2016 were for fires, according to the 2016 “Sheldon, Vermont Town Plan” document.

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