Sparky the Fire Dog, Freddie the Fire Engine, and a fire truck with an extended ladder that turns into an inflatable slide made learning fun for a group of Fort Hood children Friday.

About 60 children gathered at Casey Memorial Library’s weekly story time, which featured fire safety education from the Fort Hood Fire Department as part of National Fire Safety Week.

Children and adults learned how to use a fire extinguisher, create an escape plan for their homes, and what firefighters do every day to save lives. A fire safety house allowed children and their parents to learn how to deal with fires in the kitchen and the bedroom, operate a smoke detector and make a 911 call.

“Children in an actual fire tend to hide. If they see a firefighter in a situation like this (fire safety event), they are less likely to stay hidden and come to us so they can be rescued,” Fire Inspector Lacey Eide said.

Fire Inspector Ezekiel Vaughns read a story about Sparky the Fire Dog, before the celebrity’s appearance into the room.

Eide also dedicated time to kitchen fires which are the most common cause of fires on post. “We find most household fires are a result of something being left in the oven when it is on the self-cleaning cycle. Make sure everything is removed from the oven before you set it to self-clean,” she said.

Eide recommends all pot handles be turned in when on the stove. All combustibles, including fire extinguishers should be at least 3 feet from the stove.

The Fort Hood Fire Department responds to more than 3,000 calls annually with its five stations staffed largely with Department of the Army civilian employees and a handful of soldiers whose military occupational specialty is firefighting.

Sgt. Joshua Goessens, of 41st Fires Brigade, found the experience vital for his 3-year-old daughter, Aspen.

“She understands now that even though she does not know who they are, they are here to help her, and she won’t be scared in the future,” he said.

The fire department initiated the partnership with the library four years ago.

“(The fire safety event) supports our mission of serving families as part of the Army’s mission. It is also a traffic-builder and helps us establish a new audience for the library,” Library Director Pam Shelton said. “It also demonstrates the terrific partnership between agencies on Fort Hood.”

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