BILLINGS – For the first time in nine years, the Billings Fire Department is getting back into local classrooms to teach students about fire prevention.
“In years past, we actually had a characterization team that went out to each school. The last time that occurred was about nine years ago and unfortunately, due to funding restrictions, it was canceled. So we haven’t been in the schools for nine years. This is our first attempt at getting back in and getting our foot in the door to get these kids some fire safety education,” said Fire Marshal Michael Spini.
The department offered an invitation to Billings School District 2, surrounding districts in the county, and home schools to attend the week of presentations at the Lincoln Center.
“This week we’re targeting third graders. We met with school district two and they suggested the third grade would be the ideal age. This program is new and we’re working the bugs out of it, so we may adjust that next year, depends on the feedback from the teachers,” Spini said.
Roughly 1,500 students will take part in this week’s presentations, which received some help from Billings’ very own Pattycakes the Clown.
“This year we have a professional clown who also happens to be a firefighter who will be teaching fire safety to all the third graders in town. This approach provides the fire safety information but also in an entertaining way that holds the attention of the kids,” Spini said.
Spini said the presentations are an introduction to Fire Prevention Week.
The Billings Fire Department will host open houses at all seven of its fire stations October 1 through 10.
Monday, Oct. 1 – STATION 2 – 501 South 28th Street
Tuesday, Oct. 2 – STATION 4 – 475 6th Street West
Wednesday, Oct. 3 – STATION 3 – 1928 17th Street West
Thursday, Oct. 4 – STATION 5 – 605 South 24th Street West
Friday, Oct. 5 – STATION 6 – 1601 St Andrews Drive
Tuesday, Oct. 9 – STATION 7 – 1501 54th Street West
Wednesday, Oct. 10 – STATION 1 – 2305 8th Ave North
The open house events are free, give the public an opportunity to learn about fire safety, and get a behind the scenes look at a firehouse.
Appointments can be made by calling 406-657-8423.