Fire camp lessons may one day save lives

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - What a group of South Mississippi children learn this year in summer camp could one day save their lives.

According to a recent study by United States Fire Administration, 28.4 percent of Mississippians who become trapped by fire don't survive. Our state's fire death rate is second only to the District of Columbia while the national rate is about 13 percent. Biloxi Firefighters said they want to get those numbers down through education.

The games were a lot of fun, but the children realized behind each camp activity is a very serious message about fire.

"Fire is really dangerous, it can kill you and burn you so that's why you need to get out,"said Ethan Foster, a camper. "It helps me because I don't have to sit down in a classroom and do it. We can do it, really do it. "

Dakota Dronet said kids his age need to know about fire danger.

"So they don't get burned or hurt. It's fun but you're also learning at the same time."

At Biloxi's week long Fire Academy for Kids, the children learned ways to prevent fires like not playing with matches and regularly checking smoke detectors. Firefighters also created drills so that if a fire breaks out in their homes, children will know how to escape.

"We taught them to get low in smoke and not to panic. To roll out of bed and not sit up in bed when the smoke detector goes off," said Mark Dronet of the Biloxi Fire Department. "To feel the door with the back of their hand so they can feel if it's hot. How to get out. Taught them two ways out. We smoked up a smoke trailer and they used it to learn how to escape so they learned a lot of things this week."

Biloxi Firefighters say to bring the number of fire deaths in Mississippi down. They're planting a seed with a younger generation they hope will grow over time.

"This camp was designed to give these kids a better chance in life. As they learn things at a young age, when they get older they can teach their family,"said Dronet. "They had homework they had to go do which learned exit drills in the home. They had to go home with their families and learn this and bring it back."

This week the children also heard from other public safety agencies about the importance of wearing seatbelts, boat safety, and knowing basic first aid.

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