Dollhouse Teaches Life-Saving Lessons

It looks like a big doll house. But the $2,000 home is not a toy. Firefighters use the two-bedroom wooden home to show how fast smoke can travel through a home.

The living room is connected to a smoke machine. Downstairs the doors are open and the smoke leads up the stairs to the bedrooms. The bedroom doors are closed to demonstrate how that can save you during a fire.

Captain Barry Burnside is the Department's fire educator. He says having this tool makes it a lot easier for children to understand.

"It's very convenient to talk about smoke and what fire does, but they don't get that mental picture," Burnside says.  "When we can show them a model like this in detail and show how fast the smoke actually moves I think they have a better respect for it."

Mississippi is still one of the nation's leaders in the fire death rate. State Fire Marshall, George Dale said a lot of that statistic is because Mississippi is such a rural and poor state.

"It has a lot to do with living conditions," Dale says.  "It has a lot to do with children left unattended.  It has a lot to do with the number of children in a house."

Dale said Mississippi can improve upon those grim statistics, and education programs like the fire house can go a long way in doing that.

Here are some tips that firefighters say can help save your life and the lives of your family:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke detector.
  • Second floor bedrooms should have escape ladders that you can place out the window.
  • Water heaters should never have anything piled up around them.