“You're going to run to the green line, you're going to stop and you're going to drop on your belly, and then you're going to roll,” the firefighter told the excited students.
The classic stop, drop and roll is among the interactive exhibits set up at Barksdale Pavilion in Gulfport's Jones Park. Making fire prevention fun means dramatic demonstrations and hands-on opportunities.
“How warm is his head,” asked the instructor.
“104 degrees,” the student replied.
“Put it on his shirt. See what his shirt is. Drops a bit, huh? 95 degrees,” said the firefighter as he told the student how to point and use the heat sensor device.
The heat sensor imaging device is a favorite. It’s fun to play with but also a real life saver.
“We use that to find y'all when you're in a fire, like we're going into a fire and we can't see anything,” said the firefighter. “We put that on, and it shows you the whole outline of your body.”
The rappelling exhibit is a favorite among these students.
“That dude looks like Spiderman coming down,” said one excited youngster.
“His harness, which is hooked onto his body, that's how he stays in contact with the rope. He's going to use this thing right here, which is called a brake bar rack. It has all these little bars on it, and he runs his rope through there. That's how he controls how fast he can come down that line,” the rope team leader explained to the kids.
Taking a turn on the fire hose is another highlight. It's a little tougher than it looks, but the students quickly got the hang of it.
“I've got a diver on this boat here,” said a firefighter, looking toward the harbor. “He's going to come into the water and swim and let you all see our dive team, OK?”
Living on the Coast means firefighters working on the water from time to time. The fire boat and dive team were also a hit with these young visitors.
“I'm very excited. You know, this is fire prevention month, and this is our kickoff. We hope to impact a lot of students this year,” said Chief Michael Beyerstedt.
More than 1,200 students have toured the exhibits over the past two days.
The theme for this year's fire prevention campaign is Hear the beep where you sleep. Every bedroom needs a working smoke alarm.