SMITHFIELD—Young children drop to their hands and knees and begin to crawl toward exits at the sound of a blaring smoke alarm. Commands to “stay down low” are broadcast above the noise as artificial smoke swirls through the room clouding vision and impeding breathing. Finally a back door is opened and the students from Summit Elementary rush out of the Utah State Fire Marshal’s Life Safety House and back into fresh air.
“We all made it out OK!” said Jeremy Hunt, assistant fire chief for Smithfield Fire Department. “But don’t forget how dangerous fires can be.”
The smoke simulation was hosted by the fire department Sept. 27 as part of Summit Elementary’s first-ever Safety Fair. The event is part of Summit’s Green Ribbon Week, a week dedicated to teaching a variety of safety guidelines to students.
“We’ve been teaching safety tips all week over the intercom and in the classrooms,” said Tiffany Barfuss, PTA president at Summit. “The Safety Fair is kind of the culmination of it all.”
In addition to the fire safety demonstrations, the fair had a bike rodeo put on by the Smithfield Police Department to teach students general bike and road safety. A number of information booths sponsored by the Bear River Health Department focused on safety topics geared toward parents such as car seats and poison control.
“I think the goal of the Safety Fair and the whole Green Ribbon Week is to teach safety awareness to the whole family,” said Lara Grunig, a contributor to the event’s organization. “We’re trying to get people going on making their homes a safer place, and to raise awareness through another avenue—the schools.”
Barfuss decided to hold the Safety Fair after attending a training meeting on health and safety.
“I had no idea what all was available to us in the community, and for no cost,” Barfuss said. “The demonstrations from the police department and the fire department are free, as well as all of the booths from the health department. We even have prizes here that were donated by Primary Children’s Medical Center. Everyone has been a great help.”
Bear River Health Department also offered a sign-up for free safety checks on car seats.
“We’re here to help parents realize what they can do to make their homes safer for children,” said Emily Jewkes, from the Bear River Health Department.
“Our safety week has never been this big before,” Barfuss said. “I really hope the Safety Fair continues on for the next years.”