Big lessons, small audience – Scottsboro firefighters teach fire prevention to elementary students

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SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) -- Fire prevention is something fire departments teach all year round, but this week, a Jackson County fire department is teaching this big lesson to a small audience.

A group of firefighters stand in front of their hulking red truck.  The words "Scottsboro Fire Department" are printed on their shirts, gleaming on the truck.

They stand tall, looking down. Their audience is sitting down, looking up. Way up.

"You never want to go back in. You get out and stay out," explains one firefighter, talking loudly so the rows of his audience can hear him loud and clear.

"Go to the neighbor's house and call 911," volunteers one member of the audience.

"There you go," replies the firefighter, nodding.

They are Scottsboro firefighters. Their captivated audience hails from Brownwood Elementary School.

One of the firefighters works the various aspects of his gear, pulling on a mask that covers his whole face.

"I'm not scared of that man!" one students says. His peers chime in, in agreement.

"Is anyone scared of him?" one firefighter asks.  He's met with a chorus of answers.

Becoming comfortable with what a firefighter looks like in full gear is just one of the lessons here.

"We remind them about the importance of smoke detectors, we remind them about 911, home escape plans, not playing with fire and important things that tend to lead to very bad situations," Fire Chief Gene Necklaus says.

Chief Necklaus says  teaching fire prevention is something they do all year, but this week, even more so.

"Fire Prevention Week is running this week. Our requests take up more than the week, so we end up doing it the entire month," Chief Necklaus says.

Members of the fire department go to schools and programs to teach fire prevention, and their audience is kids.

"We're well received with elementary aged kids," Chief Necklaus says.

They're small, but the lessons stick.

"It seems like every time we see kids, they remember the topics we talked about before," Chief Necklaus says.

"In case you do have an emergency, you can get out and you can have a special designated place to go, okay?" one of the firefighters says to the crowd of students.

Those are a lot of good lessons, learned in a fun way.

As for the firefighters, well, it looks like it's fun for them too.