Being safe can be fun

The small room with about a 4-foot-high ceiling filled with white liquid smoke - something the group of three adults and five children had never experienced.

The room was part of the East Fork Fire & Paramedic Districts Fire Safety House exhibit, and Toni Braga was serious about her job. Braga is with the East Fork Fire Prevention Bureau which brought the "smoke-safety trailer" to the Family Support Council of Douglas County and Carson Valley Community Food Closet Open House in Gardnerville on Saturday. The Fire Safety House was purchased with a donation from the Douglas County Building Industry Association.

"We use this to simulate a home fire," said Braga. "I want you guys to see how quickly this room can fill with smoke."

With the press of a button, the miniature room in which everyone huddled became a wall of white.

"This is clean smoke. It's not like its going to be in a fire," said Braga, who pointed out the importance of the lesson.

"While you can see, before there's a fire, figure out how you're going to get out," she said.

Kim Chappell was there with her son William, 6.

"I would sleep in my room and take the screen off," said William. "I would slide down the roof and jump down."

Some of the tips Braga gave were:

n Everyone should have their individual plan on how to escape a house fire.

n Know who is in the house and have a meeting place established that's away from the home.

n Don't search the house for family members or pets. This should be left up to the fire department.

n Inform children ahead of time to not hide from fire department officials wearing gas masks when they enter a burning home.

n Always try to escape because even if you hurt yourself jumping out a window it is better than dying of smoke inhalation or burning.

n Install a smoke detector in every room of the house and replace batteries once a year or when they begin making beeping noises.

n Call the local fire department for help with smoke detector installation and for a free fire safety home inspection.

"If you think there's a fire or you see smoke, check the bedroom door with the back of your hand for warmth," said Braga. "If there is a fire, get out, stay low and you go. Just get out with your life."

Also at the free event: 16 car seats were installed by the Kiwanis club and 51 ID kits, including finger printing, were put together by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office. The Gang Resistance Education and Training Program and canine unit were there, as well as an East Fork Fire and Paramedics ambulance.

Members of the Nevada Divison of Child and Family Services were present to talk about adoption and foster families, Body by Pilates representatives gave free neck massages, Scolari's provided 200 hot dogs which attendees ate for free, a bounce house was provided by the Family Support Council and a librarian from Douglas County Public Library read stories to the children.

The Carson Valley Community Food Closet and the Family Support Council of Douglas County are located at 1255 Waterloo Lane. For more information on services, call Food Closet Director Eileen Boettiger at 782-3711 or Teri Clark, parent educator at the Family Support Council, 782-8692.

n Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 210.


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